HARARE – Zimbabwe is set to develop nuclear energy as an alternative source of energy as the country takes measures to mitigate against climate change, the Minister of Information and Publicity Monica Mutsvangwa has said.
Speaking during the post cabinet briefing on Tuesday the minister said cabinet has approved a memorandum of understanding between the government and the Russian Federation State Atomic Energy Corporation.
“The Memorandum seeks to facilitate higher level co-operation between the two countries in the use of nuclear energy, by laying a foundation for the execution of the agreed areas of co-operation,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
According to the minister, the country has not been spared by the effects of climate change and the over reliance of the Kariba Dam as source of hydroelectricity has seen the country experiencing power shortages in drought times.
“Zimbabwe has not been spared from the impact of climate change which has, among other effects, seen the decline of water levels in Lake Kariba,
“Alternate source of energy will remove dependence on Lake Kariba,’ she added.
The anticipated co-operation in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes will provide alternative sources of energy which Zimbabwe needs.
In her statement the minister also said Joint Working Groups will be established to identify specific projects to facilitate the co-operation, including exploring the feasibility of constructing a centre for nuclear science and technology in the country.
Zimbabwe is believed to have large quantities of uranium in the Kanyemba areas in Mashonaland Central and in 2017, the country commenced exploration to determine the extent of uranium deposits in the country for possible commercial exploitation.
The approved MOU will be a real concern of the international community would be if Zimbabwe built a nuclear reactor that produced, as a by-product, high-grade plutonium that could be used to make nuclear weapons.
Zimbabwe has rich mineral resources, including the world’s second-largest platinum deposits, high-quality chrome, gold and several other metals.
In 2013, the country was accused of signing a secret deal to supply Iran with uranium, the key element use to make nuclear weapons.