HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) _ President Robert Mugabe said Zimbabwe will turn to nuclear power by processing recently discovered uranium deposits to resolve its chronic electricity shortage, state radio said Sunday.

Mugabe, who has close ties with two countries with controversial nuclear programs _ Iran and North Korea, spoke of his intention Saturday, the radio station reported.

It was not clear how Mugabe intended to use any uranium deposits since the country does not have a nuclear power plant. The president announced plans in the 1990s to acquire a reactor from Argentina, but nothing else was ever heard about the proposal.

``Zimbabwe will develop power by processing uranium, which has recently been found in the country,'' Mugabe said, according to the radio. ``The discovery of uranium will go a long way in further enhancing the government rural electrification program.''

Zimbabwe was not previously known to have any workable deposits of uranium.

South Africa has the region's only nuclear power station at Koeberg.

Zimbabwe has been plagued by a chronic shortage of foreign exchange since Mugabe's seizure of 5,000 white-owned farms and the collapse of an export-oriented agricultural industry. It currently falls short of generating the 2,100 megawatts it needs daily by 400 to 450 megawatts.

Zimbabwe has had great difficulty meeting bills from Mozambique, South Africa and Congo for imports from the regional electric power grid.