Russia says it is unprepared to make a financial commitment towards the construction of a US$10 billion nuclear power plant in Zambia.
And Zambia says it lacks adequate funds to finance the project.
This was part of an in-depth discussion on the construction of nuclear plants when Chairperson of Russian Federation Council Matvienko recently met President Edgar Lungu at State House.
The Zambian Government hopes that upon commissioning of this project, excess power generated from this plant could be made available for export to neighbouring countries under the SADC Power Pool framework arrangement.
Under the agreement that was concluded in December 2016, the construction of the nuclear plant was estimated at US$10 billion.
The processes of design, feasibility study and approvals regarding the project have been concluded.
Mrs Matvienko said Russia and Zambia both agreed that they will find options for financing nuclear science and technology in the country.
“Now the start of the construction of a center for nuclear science and technology has been suspended due to financial issues. I would like to say that the request submitted to the Russian president is being carefully considered by the ministries and departments. I’m confident that we will jointly find options to promote funding to roll out the construction of a center for nuclear science and technology,” she said.
According to the Russian official, there are necessary conditions for the development of cooperation on high technology between Russia and Zambia.
She called the construction of a center for nuclear science and technology a priority bilateral project.
“We know that Zambia considers the construction of a center for nuclear science and technology as the first step in the development of the peaceful use of the atom and plans to consider the construction of a nuclear power plant in the future. Of course, this will qualitatively change the economy of Zambia: not only it will be able to fully meet its electricity needs, but also to export it to other countries,” Mrs. Matviyenko continued.
Mrs. Matviyenko, recently headed a Russian delegation on a three-day working visit aimed at strengthening parliamentary diplomacy with Zambia.
According to an official release from the Federation Council, the visit was within the broad framework mechanism of parliamentary consultations between Russia and African countries.
State House issued an official statement that said the high-level visits between Zambia and the Russian Federation “is a demonstration of the warm relations that exist between the two countries.”