Atomic Energy boss in Uganda for Cancer Machine launch
Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano has met President Yoweri Museveni and discussed nuclear cooperation with Uganda.
Amano is in Uganda ahead of the official commissioning on Friday of the Cobalt 60 cancer machine at Mulago. The Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) in November last year finished installing the newly purchased €320,000 radiotherapy machine and resumed services last month.
The last radiotherapy machine at Mulago broke down in April 2016, leading to national outrage as there were no alternatives. The breakdown saw at least 2,000 patients having to seek expensive travel and treatment elsewhere, including to Kenya.
Radiotherapy is one of the main types of cancer treatment. It uses ionizing radiation to destroy cancer cells and limit cell growth.
At Wednesday’s meeting at State House with the IAEA chief Amano, President Museveni stressed the importance of peaceful use of nuclear both in resolving Africa’s energy needs and on health matters.
“Unless solar becomes a cheaper alternative source of clean energy, Africa and Uganda in particular will have to use nuclear energy to improve the welbeing of its people,” said Museveni, adding that “vector control and cancer treatment are subsidiary. Main issue is energy resource.”
“Nuclear is clean. At policy and strategic level, lets have convergence use. We are ready to work with you. We have no hidden agenda,” he said.
“All rivers in Africa have a potential of about 350,000mw of electricity and yet the population will grow to about 1.2billion in next 25 years. USA uses 1.5million MW equivalent to almost five times of rivers in Africa. Unless solar is a cheaper alternative, we shall have to use nuclear,” said Museveni.
Uganda has recently called for partnerships in the area of nuclear energy development for peaceful purposes.
“Plans have been made in Uganda to have clean and safe energy generation sources with nuclear being one of them”, said Prisca Boonabantu, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Developmen, during a visit to China May 2-5 last year.
Boonabantu said that Uganda’s Vision 2040 blueprint incorporates the development of nuclear energy as part of the future energy mix. (Mulago ready for launch Page 2)