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IAEA experts arrive in Zambia to assess nuclear infrastructure

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A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is in Zambia to assess if the country had adequate infrastructure for nuclear development, a senior official said on Thursday.

Godfrey Malama, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Corporation, said the team was in Zambia to assess the status of nuclear infrastructure following the government’s plans to acquire and operate a research reactor as part of its capacity building to operate a nuclear power plant.

In remarks delivered during a meeting of stakeholders, the official said the government has decided to pursue nuclear technology for industrial uses, medical applications and electricity generation.

“The research reactor project and a nuclear power plant require relevant nuclear infrastructure to be put in place in order to ensure that nuclear technology is used safely and in a secure manner,” he said.

The official expressed optimism that the IAEA experts will help in identifying gaps, and assist in strengthening Zambia’s nuclear infrastructure.

NAN reports that in March minister of Higher Education Nkandu Luo has said that Zambia is expected to develop a nuclear power plant with a capacity to generate about 2,000 megawatts of electricity.

Professor Luo said that the power plant will be critical to ensuring sufficient supply of electricity to power the economy for over five decades.

She said the government working with the Russian government and the International Atomic Energy Agency are partnering in the nuclear science programme.

The minister explained that the decision by government to come up with a nuclear power plant follows wide consultations and research regarding the benefits and the safety and security of such energy.

She also stated that the programme will be undertaken in two main phases with phase one being the construction stage for a centre of nuclear Science and Technology to facilitate the development of local Regulatory and management capacity while the second will see the operationalisation of the nuclear power plant.

The minister was speaking when she presented a ministerial statement to parliament.

Professor Luo said the nuclear science and technology project is a clear demonstration of the foresight that PF government has to secure economic development.

She has further said there is need for sensitization to change the negative perception that Zambians have about nuclear energy.

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