Msiska regrets negative public perceptions about nuclear energy

Secretary to the Cabinet Roland Msiska says it is regrettable that many people still consider nuclear science as something dangerous which is associated with atrocities and environmental disasters.

In a speech read for him by Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary for administration Owen Mugemezulu at the Rosatom-Zambia public awareness workshop today, Dr Msiska regretted that people still regarded nuclear science as a dangerous undertaking even though empirical data suggested that very few people died directly from nuclear power applications.

“The mention of nuclear science generally provokes negative reactions from many people, surprisingly, even the most enlightened people in Zambia today view nuclear science and technology as something dangerous which is only associated with atrocities and environmental disasters. Many of our people we have asked about their feelings on nuclear science respond with expressions and impulsive responses. One of the issues that needs urgent attention within Zambia’s nuclear energy and technology will be to deal with the perception of nuclear energy by the population. Although empirical data suggests that very few people have died directly from nuclear power applications, most people still view nuclear power as something dangerous,” Dr Msiska said.

He said a nuclear power plant in Zambia would create the much needed jobs.

“The operation of a nuclear plant in Zambia will support large numbers of high paying jobs and will contribute greatly to the tax base of this country. Nuclear power is environmentally friendly because there are no green house emissions that come from that source of energy. It is because of these reasons that Zambia is moving in the direction of developing its capacity to eventually operate a nuclear power plant of at least 2000 mega watts within the next 10 to 15 years. The decision to pursue nuclear power and its applications came after wide consultations and research regarding the benefits. Further, apart from electricity generation we need nuclear energy offers Zambians unique and exciting opportunity to begin to actualise the smart Zambia mantra by using nuclear science and technology in the non power sector in areas such as medicine, agriculture and industry,” said Msiska.

“Studies have revealed that with the current rate of economic growth and the national rate of population growth, the demand for electricity is estimated to be rising by 4.5 per cent per annum. On the supply side it is estimated that growth is around 3.9 per cent per annum. With these figures, it is estimated that demand will sharply outstrip production by the year 2030, thereby pausing a threat to sustainable growth. In order to sustain growth and economic development in Zambia, there is need for a long term plan to ensure and assure a reliable, environmentally free source of energy in Zambia.

Meanwhile, Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Zambia Konstatin Kozhanov said the development of a nuclear plant in Zambia would contribute to the improvement of the country’s socio-economic situation.

“Russia has been developing nuclear power for 70 years. Russian scientists who have extensive expertise in the field of nuclear technology and they give lectures on this subject around the world. Construction of a nuclear plant is almost the only effective solution for the country today. The Zambia – Russia ambitious nuclear project which was initiated in 2015 thanks to his Excellency President Edgar Lungu, is fundamentally in line with the general context of powerful and dynamic development of friendly relations between our countries.

         

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