The INIR mission reviewed the status of nuclear infrastructure development using the Phase 1 criteria of the IAEA's Milestones Approach, a comprehensive method to assist countries that are considering or planning their first nuclear power plant which splits the activities necessary to establish the infrastructure for a nuclear power programme into three progressive phases of development. The end of Phase 1 marks the readiness of a country to make a knowledgeable commitment to a nuclear power programme.
Prior to the mission, Uganda prepared and submitted a self-evaluation report and supporting documents covering all infrastructure issues to the IAEA.
To diversify its energy mix, which is now mainly based on hydroelectricity, Uganda has taken steps towards the introduction of nuclear power. It drafted an energy policy that includes nuclear power and established a Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organisation (NEPIO). A NEPIO coordinates efforts among organisations and individuals who have roles to play in the process. Uganda's NEPIO has completed several studies on different infrastructure issues and drafted a Nuclear Power Roadmap for Uganda that makes recommendations for key decisions on the development of the infrastructure for nuclear power in the short, medium and long term.
The INIR team of IAEA staff and experts from Algeria, Morocco, Turkey and the USA was hosted by Uganda's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
The team made recommendations and suggestions aimed at assisting Uganda in making further progress in the development of its nuclear infrastructure and its readiness to construct the first nuclear power plant in the country. It also identified good practices that would benefit other countries developing nuclear power in the areas of national position, stakeholder involvement and industrial involvement.
The INIR team said the Nuclear Power Roadmap for Uganda needs to be updated and completed by conducting further studies that provide a basis for informed decisions and commitments for the nuclear power programme. Further areas the team raised included the need to finalise Uganda's energy policy; to strengthen its plans to join the relevant international legal instruments and to develop an adequate legal framework; to further assess and plan for the development of the human resources necessary for the nuclear power programme; and to further analyse the preparedness of the electrical grid and continue work in the areas of siting, environmental protection, financing, and radiation protection.
"As Uganda prepares to introduce nuclear energy to meet growing electricity demand, it is important the Government continues to support further development of the infrastructure needed for a safe, secure and peaceful nuclear power programme," said team leader Mehmet Ceyhan from the IAEA's Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section.
Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, minister of Energy and Mineral Development said: "The Government of Uganda is well aware of the importance of energy for socio-economic development to improve the lives of all our people. Nuclear power is envisaged to contribute to the electricity generation mix by 2031.
"As the country implements the National Development Plan III, the Government has taken the initiative to assess its readiness towards construction and operation of the first nuclear power plant by using the IAEA Milestones Approach. This Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review mission will assist Uganda in reviewing the current status of development of our nuclear infrastructure and support identifying those areas where further work is required."