Namibia plans to trade in uranium, but process cumbersome

14 Oct 2016 13:30pm
WINDHOEK, 14 OCT (NAMPA) - The Namibian Government is seeking support from countries that are members of the International Atomic Nuclear Agency to support the country's plan to trade in uranium and use it locally.
Namibian uranium is extracted for export purposes only, and currently accounts for approximately seven per cent of the world supply.
“Namibia is planning to trade in uranium and use it locally, but the process is cumbersome,” Minister of Mines and Energy Obeth Kandjoze said during the official opening of the 41st Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) conference underway here.
SAPP is coordinating the planning, generation, transmission and marketing of electricity on behalf of SADC member states.
Namibia cannot trade in uranium because the country is not a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
The NSG is a group of nuclear supplier countries that seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of two sets of guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.
Kandjoze said there are specific requirements that the country needs to meet, which include the country's declaration of its intention to become a NSG member before it gets to the voting process.
To become a NSG member, the country requires the vote of all present 48 nations, but the process to get to the voting stage is cumbersome, he said.
The minister said many countries, including India, want to trade with Namibia in uranium.
Namibia is the fifth largest producer of uranium today.
“We are lobbying all our African brothers and countries which are members of the International Nuclear Atomic Energy agency to support our case to become a member of NSG,” he said.
Kandjoze said if Namibia becomes a NSG member, the uranium in the Erongo Region will be accessed by the world for friendly use only.
Locally, it will be used as nuclear energy and has subsidiary benefits for water, medical and agriculture technologies.
Namibia’s energy consumption is dominated by the country’s vehicle fleet which uses some 90 per cent of all fossil fuels imported each year.
In the electricity sector, Kandjoze said, household consumption accounts for more than 60 per cent of the total use, while mining and commercial users each consume some 20 per cent of the total annual electricity supply.
As a net importer of most forms of energy, Namibia will need considerable local investments to reduce this strategic risk, he said.