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The federal government has allotted 62 million birr to conduct a feasibility study for the establishment of a Nuclear Science and Technology Center during the upcoming fiscal year.

The plans were included in the 2024/25 federal budget proposal presented to Parliament by Finance Minister Ahmed Shide last week. The proposal also included the allocation of 53 million birr to the construction of a satellite assembly and testing station, and a further 201 million birr for the construction of a high resolution earth observatory satellite station.

Officials have ambitions to see the upgrade and expansion of the Entoto Observatory and the establishment of a model school for science and technology, both of which are outlined in the budget document. It also proposes a series of initiatives in the field of biotechnology, including a 177 million birr development project.

According to The Reporter’s sources, the plans for a nuclear science and technology center stem from the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MInT) and will be executed under the Ethiopian Energy Authority.

Speaking during the 25th regular session of the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HoPR) last month, Technology Minister Belete Mola indicated discussions were underway with the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) regarding the center’s construction following the completion of a feasibility study.

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Ethiopia has previously declared ambitions to pursue the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, such as electricity generation, medical applications, and agricultural development. The country has signed several agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other countries, such as Russia, China, and Korea, to cooperate on nuclear science and technology.

Former head of MInT Getahun Mekuria also once stated his plans to build low-power nuclear power units in the next ten years.

Ethiopia has been a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since 1957.

In his opening remarks at the annual conference IAEA last year, Belete stated Ethiopia has through the years enhanced its collaboration with the Agency being highly committed and strongly supportive to the mandates of the Agency towards non-proliferation, nuclear safety and promoting peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology for sustainable development.

Countries like Russia, China and South Korea have pledged to support Ethiopia in this endeavor.

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