KAMPALA — Uganda is seeking Russian assistance to develop East Africa’s first nuclear power plant and expand its space-research capabilities, President Yoweri Museveni said.
Museveni held talks Tuesday with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is on a four-nation tour of Africa.
Uganda has “a lot” of uranium, essential for power generation and for biotechnology, Museveni told reporters on Tuesday at State House in Entebbe.
“We have talked of cooperating in space, space science; Uganda would like a small satellite to see what is happening around the globe, then nuclear energy,” he said.
Uganda announced in May it’s acquired land for the construction of a nuclear-power plant.
That followed its unveiling of plans in 2017 to build a 2,000-megawatt facility by 2032.
The only atomic-power station in Africa is situated near Cape Town in South Africa, while Kenya and Nigeria have plans to construct nuclear-power plants.
Uganda, which largely relies on hydropower plans to boost its electricity generation 12-fold to 17,000 megawatts in the medium-term, according to the Electricity Regulatory Authority.
Uganda is also preparing to launch its first satellite by September 2022, President Museveni announced last month.
Museveni said Uganda would launch into the Lower Earth Orbit its first-ever satellite from the International Space Station in collaboration with the US National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA).
Government has since allocated UGX 274.4 billion towards advancing innovation and technological development in this country.
The satellite, PearlAfricaSat-1, is the latest mission from the Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite project.
The project, first announced in 2019, recently took a major step forward with the approval of funding for a ground station near Kampala.
The station, located at the Mpoma facility where Uganda already has two antennas, will serve as the operations and communications centre for satellites launched by the government and universities. The existing antennas are associated with Intelsat’s the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean satellites.
Uganda has already invested significant resources to develop the technology. The country has committed $2m for technology, research, and development and another $200,000 to improve infrastructure at Mpoma.