The Russian nuclear agency Rosatom on Wednesday has claimed that Russia and Uganda will be working together in the field of Nuclear energy, as Moscow has sought to strengthen its influence in Africa. The agreement was signed on Tuesday by a Rosatom representative and Irene Muloni, the Ugandan Energy Minister at the International Atomic Energy Agency's general conference in Vienna. Rosatom allegedly claimed that the deal lays the foundation for specific cooperation between Russia and Uganda in the field of nuclear energy.
It paves the way for working together in "the creation of nuclear energy infrastructure, the production of radioisotopes for industry, medicine, agriculture, as well as the training of personnel." Rosatom said the parties had agreed to organise visits by specialists in the "near future".
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's is reportedly seeking to use his country's uranium deposits to develop nuclear power. Moscow first signed a memorandum of understanding with Kampala in this area in 2017, ahead of Beijing, which signed a similar agreement in 2018. China claimed that it will help Uganda build and operate nuclear power plants. Eight potential sites had been identified in the country’s central, southwest and northern regions that could potentially host nuclear power plants. China is a major investor in Ugandan infrastructure projects and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) signed a memorandum of understanding in 2018 to help Uganda build atomic capacity.
Representatives of Rosatom have been involved with both the military and civil use of nuclear energy and have reportedly approached the leaders of dozens of African countries in the past years. The company has worked within the framework of agreements made by the Russian government with Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana, South Africa, and others. Nigeria already has a deal with Rosatom for the construction of a nuclear reactor. Sudan has allegedly signed less ambitious agreements of cooperation. Ethiopia and the Republic of the Congo have also reportedly signed the same agreement. Russia also has an office to promote nuclear energy in Zambia. Rosatom also reportedly trains local specialists in nuclear physics and energy in several African nations and also runs a scholarship program in Kenya.
(With inputs from PTI)