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Kenya unveils strategic plan for first nuclear power plant

Kenya has revealed its nuclear energy strategy, with plans to commission its first reactor within the next ten years.

The state-owned nuclear power and energy agency unveiled this week, the strategic plan for 2023-2027, which spells out the country’s nuclear energy target.

Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, Alex Wachira, stated that the plan outlines principles for constructing nuclear infrastructure.

This would encompass the safe and secure construction, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of nuclear plants.

According to the ministry, Kenya’s domestic installed capacity is about 3,073 MW, comprising 839 MW of hydropower, 940 MW of geothermal and 646 MW of thermal power. Wind power capacity is about 436 MW, solar sources account for 210 MW, and the rest is from biomass.

Justus Wabuyabo, CEO of the state-owned Nuclear Power & Energy Agency (NuPEA), stated that the approach will assure Kenya’s compliance with international conventions, treaties, and duties governing nuclear applications, radiation protection, radioactive material transit, and nuclear waste. He also stated that the plan includes processes for developing a legal framework and a human resources development plan to guarantee that nuclear power becomes an important component of the country’s energy mix.

Already, two potential NPP sites have been identified in Kilifi and Kwale counties, and technical and feasibility studies have been undertaken. The government is presently teaching Kenyans in nuclear-related courses both domestically and internationally.

Wabuyabo said Kenya has signed Memorandum of Understanding with various countries including the US, South Korea and China on implementation of its plan. “We are looking for a partner that is responsive to our needs which includes training our people in this area,” he said. The project for a 1,000 MW plant is estimated to cost KES500bn ($3.6bn). While the cost of the project was high, he explained that operation and maintenance were low. “The economic benefits of nuclear power outweigh the cost…as we speak over 438 reactors are in operation across the world,” he stated. The tendering process for the project is set for 2027.

Source: Energy Ghana