Atomic Energy Chief Visits Uganda Over Nuclear Ambitions


In short
Yukiya Amano is expected from 17th to 20th January 2018 to among other activities commission newly acquired radiotherapy machines at Uganda Cancer Institute.

Yukiya Amano, the Director General (DG) of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is expected in Uganda this week. Amano will witness the commissioning of the Cobalt 60 Machine at the Uganda Cancer Institute, according to a statement from the Energy and Mineral Development Ministry.

Prisca Boonabantu, the Undersecretary at the Energy Ministry says Amano will hold what she called high-level consultations with President Museveni on the Technical Cooperation Programme between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Uganda.

The International Atomic Energy Agency provided technical support towards construction of the radiotherapy bunker as well funded the purchase of the Cobalt 60 Machine following the breakdown of old machines in March 2016.

The machines were procured from the Czech Republic by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over 2.7 billion Shillings.

A source at the Atomic Energy Council told URN that Amano and President Museveni are expected to further discuss the long-standing ambition of establishing radiotherapy and nuclear medicine beyond Mulago. There have been plans to expand radiotherapy services to Mbarara in Western Uganda and Mbale in Eastern Uganda.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is a UN body charged with regulation of nuclear and Atomic energy for safe application in areas of treatment and energy.

Bonabantu,  who has been coordinating Uganda's nuclear energy plans says the visit by Yukia Amano is as a result of the culmination of the good working relationship between Uganda and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) secretariate in Vienna, Austria.

Uganda has since October 2008 been implementing a Country Programme Framework (CPF) with the International Atomic energy Agency in safe application of nuclear technology to national priorities. 

The current Cooperation Framework expires at the end of this year. It focuses on feasibility studies for nuclear power projects, uranium exploration and evaluation, cancer management, food and agriculture, water resources management and strengthening the national nuclear and radiation safety infrastructure.

Bonabantu says the IAEA supports the country through the provision of specialized equipment, training of staff and provision of expert advice.

She says the 2014-2018 Cooperation Framework registered a number of achievements to include among others the support to the development of the nuclear power roadmap through the pre-feasibility studies in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and support for the restoration of radiotherapy services at Uganda Cancer Institute.
The International Atomic Energy Agency is also supporting Uganda to end Tsetse flies using nuclear energy.

Regional centres for animal disease diagnosis in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries have been established as part of the cooperation.

In the area of water resources management, support for the use of isotope hydrology techniques in the national groundwater resources assessment programme will be continued. High priority areas prone to drought will be the focus.

Uganda is expected to play a central role in the assessment of the role of groundwater in the Nile Basin under a regional project supported by the IAEA and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).