Government says there is need for African countries including Zambia to deal with the negative perceptions towards nuclear science and technology in order to reap the available vast socio-economic and health benefits.
Secretary to Cabinet, Roland Msiska regretted that nuclear science is associated with atrocities and environmental disasters at the expense of the vast benefits in medical applications, agriculture and power generation.
Dr. Msiska said this in a speech read for him by Permanent Secretary at Cabinet Office, Bernard Kapasa at the official opening of the European Union(EU) funded Zambia Conference on enhancing Africa’s capacity on nuclear safety, security and safeguards in SADC countries.
Dr. Msiska stated that there is need for sensitisation and public awareness on the benefits of peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology despite many people not being affected by nuclear science.
He further said Africa needs to move away from heavy reliance on natural phenomena for power generation and embrace nuclear power generation to attain sustainable economic development.
The Secretary to Cabinet said Zambia is keen on developing its nuclear science capacity and intends to operate a 2,000 megawatts power plant to drive economic activity.
Dr. Msiska said projections of increased demand for electricity should make African countries adopt nuclear power to support economic growth and maximize benefits from use of nuclear science and technology.
He said Africa needs to join the international community in utilizing nuclear science and technology for economic development.
Dr. Msiska commended the involvement of young people in Africa’s nuclear programme which has seen the formation of the Zambian Chapter of the Young Generation in Nuclear.
And Radiation Protection Authority Executive Director, Boster Siwila said the conference will help Zambia and other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region to strengthen regulatory framework in the transportation and storage of nuclear and radioactive materials.
Mr Siwila said there is need for Africa and Zambia to adhere to environmental safeguards in order for the continent to enhance its capacity in nuclear.
And European Union (EU) Representative to Zambia, Robert De Raeve said his organisation will continue to promote partnerships with Zambia in order to enhance nuclear safety.
Mr. De Raeve said EU will offer best practices to Africa in advanced nuclear safety and strengthened regulatory framework to promote development of nuclear science and increased Uranium mining in Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Namibia.