The Minister of Mines and Energy, Obed Kandjoze, says Namibia is lobbying for support from International Atomic Energy Agency members to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which will enable the country to further trade in uranium for electricity generation around the globe, including Namibia.
Currently only a select group of countries are members of NSG, such as Switzerland, North Korea, Canada, Argentina, United Kingdom, United States and only one African country, South Africa.
The group, amongst others, seeks to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons. There are currently 48 members in the group that is chaired by Argentina.
According to Kandjoze, countries such as China, Iran, India, Russia and France are continuously seeking ways to trade with Namibia in terms of uranium, however Namibia is not allowed as it is still not a member of the NSG, despite being the 7th largest uranium producer in the world.
Kandjoze made the remarks during the fortieth Southern African Power Pool conference that ended last Friday in Swakopmund.
He said nuclear energy is one form of energy that cannot be ignored any longer, adding that NSG membership will grant the world access to the country’s uranium belt, obviously for friendly use only.
“However, the NSG members have all sorts of powers and for you to become a member to trade with those who are, or aren’t, you need to be a member, but getting membership takes for ever. But the membership can unlock various local opportunities for Namibia in terms of nuclear energy, while subsidiary benefits will include water, medical and agricultural technologies,” Kandjoze explained.
Kandjoze emphasized that NSG members have powers so wide that only one member country needs to disagree with any new country seeking to join to block its membership.
“They have specific requirements on how you should declare you intentions to become a member. You need to meet that specific template required for you to become a member. Then it goes through their system. Therefore we are lobbying with the International Atomic Energy Agency to support our case so that we can offer the world wider access to our uranium for friendly nuclear energy,” the minister said.