Zambia Atomic Energy Agency (ZAMATOM) Director-General Dr. Rowland Msiska has said there is need to build a proper foundation if Zambia is to have a nuclear power plant and that the Center for Nuclear Science and Technology is important for the transformation of Zambia through energy generation.
Giving a presentation during the Patriotic Front (PF) Interactive Forum in Lusaka on Sunday under the topic ‘Is nuclear power the answer to reducing load shedding – the case for Zambia, Dr. Msiska said the center will help in diversifying the energy sector.
“In 2015/16 Zambia experienced low power production due to prolonged drought. This caused a reduction of approximately 40% of the economic growth rate. In order to address the above challenge, His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu announced on 18th September 2015, 16th September 2016 that his administration during its term in office would pursue nuclear energy as part of the diversified sustainable energy mix to power Zambia’s economy. The2018/19 looks to be a repeat of 2015/16,” he said.
Dr. Msiska said the decision to embrace nuclear energy will help the country in achieving the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) such as Economic Diversification and Job Creation; Industry and Economic Growth and Enhancing Human Development.
Highlighting the Economic Benefits of nuclear energy –US Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Case Study, Dr. Msiska said each year, the average 1,000 megawatt (MW) nuclear plant generates approximately US$470 million in electricity sales and revenue.
On the environmental impact, Dr. Msiska stated that unlike oil, coal or natural gas, nuclear energy is one of the lowest carbon footprint technologies across the world.
He indicated that nuclear power has very low lifetime greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which makes the technology a potent climate change mitigation option.
Dr. Msiska also observed the need for the PF Secretariat and other stakeholders to promote investment in alternative energy sources such as thermos electricity generation from coal and nuclear reactors.
He said there was a need to facilitate the passing of the Comprehensive Nuclear Bill in Parliament.
“There is a need to encourage PF Members of Parliament to support Government in a meeting of International Atomic Energy Agency standards through ratifications of relevant treaties, conventions, protocols, and agreements. Encourage PF Members of Parliament to support Government in domesticating of the same through amendments of existing laws (ZEMA, NCC, EIZ Act). Encourage PF Members of Parliament to assure his constituents of the Government’s commitment to safety and security. Communicate to all relevant Party structures, Chiefs and all key stakeholders on the importance of the implementation of the nuclear program,” he said.
On the impact of the effects of the El-Nino on the 2015/2016 Fiscal Performance, the ZAMATOM Director-General said unbudgeted US$39,286,245.70 was spent on emergency power imports by the Treasury in 2015.
He further stated that this caused adverse effects on the Fiscal performance in 2015 as the El-Nino effect was not anticipated when drawing the 2015 budget.
Meanwhile, Dr. Msiska emphasized that the setting up of a nuclear center and plant is a non-political issue as it is aimed at benefiting the future of the country.