Uganda: Peaceful Purposes for Nuclear Energy

Peace Edem
March 24, 2018

Submitted as coursework for PH241, Stanford University, Winter 2018


Fig. 1: World map of nuclear power station status. [4] (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Uganda has now been tapped amongst other African nations as a great source for nuclear energy dealings. With Ugandas goals of rapid economic transformation and development, investment in nuclear energy is rising in priority on the national agenda in order to meet the power demands for the development of the country and increase its viability by working with other powerful industrialized nations like China and Russia.

Uganda and China

China for some time now has been in talks with Uganda to establish a multi-billion dollar power plant in the country. China has been seeking negotiations with Uganda in its efforts for nuclear power expansion as there is currently no nuclear power plant in East Africa (see Fig.1). Working with the Uganda government to create a nuclear power plant on Ugandan soil will help further establish China as a force to be reckoned with, particularly in East Africa. [1] Although the motivations behind Chinas desires for investment in Uganda reek of the growing scent of neo-colonialism present on the African continent, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni is persistent on leveraging the knowledge and capabilities of nations like China even though halts to such negotiations have been made due to pressures from Japan on China to cease nuclear approvals until a thorough inspection of its existing reactors and construction sites is complete. [1]

Uganda and Russia

Unwavering on its commitment to produce 2000 megawatts of nuclear power in the next 10 to 15 years, Uganda has looked to the other major nuclear power - Russia - for assistance. [2] Recently Ugandas State minister for Minerals Simon DUjanga and Russias deputy director-general of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, Nikolai Spasskiy signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop uranium into nuclear power for peaceful purposes. [3] More specifically, this agreement is designed to promote bilateral cooperation in development of nuclear infrastructure in Uganda, programs for raising public awareness of nuclear technologies and its application, and radioisotopes and radiation technologies application in industrial, medical, agricultural sectors. [3]


With the immutable commitment of Ugandan officials to implement its nuclear energy plan, Ugandas desire to seek partnerships with current nuclear energy superpowers remains unequivocal. However, it will be interesting to see who reports greater returns on investment the foreign powers or Uganda. If it turns out to be the former and not the latter, it will be interesting to see how long the purpose of its nuclear energy will remain peaceful.

© Peace Edem. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.


[1] K. Nasser, "International Atomic Energy Agency Sceptical of Uganda Energy Plans; as President Museveni Pleads for Clearance," The African News Journal, 23 Jan 18.

[2] B. B. Lule, "Uganda Aims for 2,000 MW Nuclear Power," The Observer, 21 Jul 17.

[3] F. Musisi, "Uganda, Russia Sign Pact to Develop Nuclear Power," Daily Nation, 20 Jun 17.

[4] "Nuclear Power Reactors in the World," International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA-RDS-2/36, 2016.