Prominent Chongwe resident Frederick Mwalusaka has joined other Chongwe residents in rejecting the planned construction of a Nuclear Science and Technology Plant in the area.
Mr Mwalusaka who is also former RTSA Chief Executive Officer said Zambia does not have the means to evacuate the entire city if the nuclear facility decides to go ballistic.
“I pray to God that as government plans to undertake nuclear research and development in Chongwe, they should do so with foresight. Hindsight can be a bad teacher. Examples abound of what happens when a nuclear facility decides to go ballistic and I need not mention them here,” Mr. Mwalusaka said.
He added, “We do not have the means or the capacity to evacuate entire cities for prolonged length of time. While research and development should be encouraged, they should take such facilities very far away from human settlements where the effects of a calamity should it occur would be least minimal.”
During a heated public meeting in Chongwe on Monday, Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II and the Soli people of Chongwe rejected government’s proposal to build a nuclear plant in their chiefdom.
Prof Luo later stormed out of the meeting after government was accused of not consulting Chieftainess Nkomeshya while Mr Mwakalombe promised to deliver the message of rejection to President Lungu.
The meeting attended by Higher Education Minister Professor Nkandu Luo, Chongwe Member of Parliament Japhen Mwakalombe and Mayor Geoffrey Chumbwe held at the Chongwe Council chamber, the residents threw out government’s intended plan to build the plant in Chongwe using the Russians.
According to the Intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation between Russia and Zambia, the institution will constitute the Centre of Nuclear Science and Technology.
The Centre will be based on the multipurpose research reactor with a capacity of 10 MW equipped with laboratories, functional facilities and complexes providing a whole range of scientific research, training and commercial applications.
The Centre will also comprise multifunctional irradiation centre and nuclear medicine Centre based on the cyclotron.
The CNST is expected to allow Zambia to start the development and mastering of nuclear technologies that may be applied in science, education, healthcare, agriculture and industry such as geology and other fields.
According to the decision of the Zambian Government, the location of the Centre will be within the premises of the National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research.
The Government of Zambia is fully responsible for the selection of the Centre site and it is will be located near Lusaka International Airport, Silver Rest area.
Government feels that the location is ideal for such type of facilities because it can attract not only population and personnel during the construction stage but also will be convenient during the operation stage and is also ideal from the logistics point of view.
The contract on the preliminary site survey was signed during Atomexpo 2017 with participation of the Zambian delegation.
As soon as the site is ready, Russian firm Rosatom can promptly start the works at the Centre site.