Government has reiterated the importance of investing in nuclear energy owing to its immense benefits towards the country’s economic development.
Ministry of Information and Media Permanent Secretary, Kennedy Kalunga says nuclear energy is a reliable, affordable, clean and stable source of electricity.
Mr. Kalunga said Zambia just like many other countries has experienced steep fluctuations in rainfall patterns resulting in power deficits, impacting negatively on economic development.
He stated that the nuclear programme has the capacity to bring out a diversified and export oriented mining industry through enhanced coloration of gemstone, improved education and skills development among other benefits.
Mr. Kalunga was speaking in Lusaka during the official opening of the media capacity building and sensitisation workshop on the nuclear programme in Zambia.
Mr. Kalunga however, said it is unfortunate that the public has negative perception about nuclear power as a dangerous and unsustainable process which is often based on global nuclear accidents and its association with nuclear weapons.
He further said it is importance to equip the media with information on nuclear energy as they are key stakeholders in ensuring public acceptance as the country embarks on the implementation of the nuclear energy programme.
Mr. Kalunga added that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has emphasised the need to train journalists on responsible dissemination of sensitive information to the public.
“Currently, knowledge levels of nuclear technologies are low, creating information gaps filled with suspicion and fears. The media have also played their role in misinforming the public,” Mr. Kalunga stated.
He further highlighted the continued collaboration between Zambia and Russia in the development of nuclear energy in the country.
And Ministry of Technology and Science, Permanent Secretary, Brilliant Habeenzu said the application of nuclear technology and science through the nuclear programme in Zambia still remains a priority.
Dr. Habeenzu said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Ministry of Technology and Science Acting Permanent Secretary, Mala Sikazwe.
He said government enacted a 2020 national nuclear policy which is aimed at accelerating the utilisation of nuclear science for peaceful purposes of achieving socio-economic development.
Dr. Habeenzu said the policy will ensure that Zambia maximises on the benefits of nuclear science and technology that has been proven to contribute to the rapid economic development.
And National Nuclear Coordinator, Rauben Katebe said Zambia and Russia signed a number of Memoranda of Understanding in 2016 aimed at enhancing corporation in nuclear energy.
Dr. Katebe disclosed that this was further sealed with the training of 120 Zambians in nuclear energy to enhance awareness.
Zambia in 2014 embarked on the implementation of nuclear programme, which will see the construction of a nuclear power plant (NPP) and a centre for nuclear science and technology.
The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Science and Technology in conjunction with the Ministry of Information and Media.