THE governments of Zimbabwe and Russia this week signed an agreement that will see the Russians assisting the southern African nation setting up a nuclear power station to provide alternative sources of energy to the country facing years of perennial power cuts.
The agreement was signed with the Russian state-owned company, State Atomic Energy Corporation.
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa confirmed the development at this week’s Post-Cabinet press briefing held Tuesday.
“Cabinet considered and approved the MoU (Memorandum of Agreement) between the Zimbabwe and the Russian Federation State Atomic Energy Corporation, which was presented by the Attorney General (Prince Machaya) on behalf of the chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation,” she said.
“The MoU 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.
“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 2019, Zimbabwe joined the global Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) an initial stage in uranium enrichment.
The move then was necessitated by a dire shortage of electricity as the country only produced 650MW against a national demand of 1 700MW.
The then Energy Minister Fortune Chasi told journalists government was looking at alternative sources of power at a 2019 Post-Cabinet press briefing.
The country discovered uranium deposits in the coal rich Hwange and Binga districts with exploration still in progress.
Mutsvangwa defended the move blaming climate change for a power crisis that has been difficult to deal with for over five years now.
Added Mutsvangwa: “Zimbabwe has not be spared from the impact of climate change which has, among other effects, seen the decline of water levels in Lake Kariba. Alternate sources of energy will remove dependence on Lake Kariba.
“The anticipated co-operation in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes will provide alternative sources of energy which Zimbabwe needs.”