Uganda’s highly anticipated nuclear plant project is set to displace more than 25,000 residents across over ten villages in Buyende District.
These affected villages, including Kasaato, Buyanja ‘B’, Buyanja ‘A’, Nawansaso, and others in Buyanja Sub-County, will witness significant changes due to the monumental nuclear endeavor.
Solomon Muyita, the communications chief of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, disclosed that Buyende was selected as the project’s host site after rigorous evaluations since 2016.
The decision was based on its central location, low population density, ample land availability, and access to water sources from Lake Kyoga, making it ideal for nuclear reactors.
However, during a recent meeting, concerns were voiced about how these displaced locals will adapt to new environments.
Many of them are fishermen and livestock farmers who have lived near the River Nile and Lake Kyoga shoreline, posing challenges for them to adjust to unfamiliar areas.
Hope Senkamba, the District councilor representing Buyanja Sub-County and Bukungu Town Council, lamented the loss of voters due to the mass exodus and expressed worries about the welfare of women who often bear the burden of family care in their husbands’ absence.
Ruth Kawendeke, the female councilor for Buyanja Parish, raised concerns about potential repercussions on family dynamics, such as domestic violence, as a result of husbands finding new partners after compensation.
Local leaders like Ronald Ssekyanzi emphasized that compensation should encompass more than land and property but also consider the impact on livelihoods and the disruption experienced by the affected community.
State Minister for Minerals Peter Lokeris emphasized the need to look beyond compensation benefits.
He highlighted the project’s potential to create 2,000 jobs and address Uganda’s persistent power shortages, contributing to the country’s Vision 2040 goals of increased power generation.
Uganda aims to start nuclear energy production by 2031, with the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
President Museveni is keen on using Uganda’s uranium deposits to supplement the current hydro and geothermal power capacity.
The project not only promises to expand electricity generation but also opens doors for industrial, medical, and research applications.
Buyende District is optimistic about benefiting from improved infrastructure, consistent power supply, and a hospital for nuclear-related health issues as it embraces the transformative potential of nuclear energy.