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    Afghanistan to use uranium for power generation

    KABUL (PAN): A board has been established to start work on using uranium for generating electricity in energy-deficient, the acting water and energy minister, Ismail Khan, said on Tuesday.

    Speaking in the Wolesi Jirga, lower house of Parliament, he said jobs had been advertised for experts who would be able to work on the project. However, he did not explain when the scheme would be launched or how much it would cost.

    "If we start producing electricity from uranium, we will not need to import power from neighbouring countries," he said, adding currently 300 megawatts of electricity was purchased from Tajikistan the same amount from Uzbekistan.

    Afghanistan was one of the countries with vast uranium reserves, which were yet to be tapped to meet people's energy requirements, said Nasima Niazi, a female public representative from southern Helmand province.

    "Foreigner should be asked if they want long-term military bases, they should help Afghanistan exploit its uranium wealth for power generation," she suggested. It would address concerns that neighbours might one day cut power supply to the landlocked country, she said.

    About 100 megawatts of the electricity imported from Tajikistan could not be supplied to residents of Kabul due to a shortage of funds and other problems, the acting minister said in reply to a query from MP Farhad Siddiqui.

    frm/mud