Zimbabwe sets its sights on nuclear power
- Jul 14, 2020 9:01 am GMTJul 14, 2020 2:53 pm GMT
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By Mugove Tafirenyika
Energy Minister Fortune Chasi. PIC: Myles Matarise
THE government is pursuing uranium exploration and enrichment to generate power in the wake of shortages that have hit the country in recent years, the Daily News reports. This comes as Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo visited the Kremlin, Russia, in August last year where he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in the “peaceful use” of nuclear power. Responding to a question by Zanu PF MP for Chegutu West, Dexter Nduna, on the government’s policy in relation to uranium enrichment and other minerals in order to produce renewable energy recently, Energy minister Fortune Chasi said he was currently in the process of coming up with a national integrated energy resource plan “for the first time in this country”.
“This process ensures that we take into account all the resources that we have to make power. It is common cause that we have suffered from climate change with respect to Kariba.
“It is also a common cause that we also depend a lot on coal. “Government respects its international obligations regarding the carbon footprint. We are looking at all possible sources that we can have and nuclear is one of them, which arise from uranium. “We are now in the process of actively considering this possibility and as we come to the point where we talk about uranium, I can assure the House that a lot of work will have been done, but it is work in progress,” Chasi said.
Upon his arrival from Russia last year, Moyo said Zimbabwe had agreed terms with Russia to engage in uranium exploration and enrichment in a bid to commence power generation. “This was cooperation in exploration and other areas and research in as far as peaceful use of nuclear energy is concerned.
“When we say peaceful use of nuclear energy, it is one of the areas where power can actually be generated from as far as that is concerned,” said Moyo. “It is not so much about being implemented, but it is an agreement which conjoins the two countries for research.”
Moyo co-chaired the Third Session of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation between Zimbabwe and Russia from August 5 to 7, 2019 in Moscow alongside Russia’s Environment minister Sergey Yefimovich Donksoy.
Though extremely expensive to build and with stringent international regulations, nuclear power facilities produce energy at 91 percent efficiency, 24 hours a day with zero carbon emissions. Some 13 percent of the world’s power, mostly from Europe and America, comes from nuclear energy.