Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Uganda to invest in atomic energy

By Madinah Tebajjukira - 4th November, 2008

UGANDA will invest in atomic energy, following an agreement signed with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The mineral development state minister, Kamanda Bataringaya, witnessed the signing at the 52nd General Conference held in Geneva recently.

“In the mutually agreed strategy for matching nuclear technology to national priorities for sustainable development, the focus will be on human resource development to strengthen the capacities of young scientists in relevant development areas for which the peaceful use of nuclear applications would represent an added value,” the agreement stated.

The Atomic Energy Bill was made law in May. It, among other things, provides for the regulation of peaceful application of ionising radiation and the establishment of the Atomic Energy Council.

The law provides for the protection of individuals, society and the environment from dangers of radiation.

The law also provides for a framework to develop nuclear energy for use in power generation.

The agreement stated that the cooperation would consolidate radiotherapy and nuclear medical facilities at Mulago Hospital and expand similar services to Mbarara, and Mbale districts.

The use of nuclear techniques would address the contagious bovine pleuropneumonia and foot and mouth disease, which had led to a quarantine in some parts of the country, the agreement stated.

“The IAEA and the Government will cooperate in the development of improved varieties of crops, with emphasis on resource-limited smallholder farmers, as well as the application of soil and water management and crop nutrition,” the agreement reads.

It will also focus on areas prone to draught and Uganda is expected to play a key role in assessing the role of underground water in the Nile Basin.