Kenya is planning on building its first nuclear power plant in the next eight to ten years.
The Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (NuPEA) has contracted China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to help establish the best location for the Nuclear power plant.
The Indian Ocean, Lake Turkana, and Lake Victoria have been identified by the Nuclear Power and Energy Agency as the most suitable sites for housing the power plant.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of NuPEA, Mr. Collins Juma, the Rift Valley was intentionally left out as a lot of water will be needed to cool the plant.
NuPEA’s vision is to set up a 1000-megawatt (MW) power plant by 2027 and rising its capacity to 4000MW by 2033 so that nuclear electricity is becoming one major component of Kenya’s energy.
With the site for the nuclear power plant establishment set to take two years, NuPEA’s CEO Mr. Juma thinks that is an ambitious timeline to achieve their intentions.
“This characterization of the site is an activity that takes more than two years. Countries like Nigeria, Russia, and Turkey took three years to do it, so for us, this is a very ambitious timeline as we should be talking of three years,” said Mr. Juma.
In preparation for this, the agency has trained 29 Kenyan graduates who hold Master’s degrees in Nuclear Engineering from various top universities in China, Russia, and Korea.
The National Assembly’s Energy committee was told that the establishment of the power plant location by NuPEA and the Chinese firm is expected to cost taxpayers around 1.5 billion shillings.
NuPEA considers this project a long-term solution to the ever-rising fuel costs especially during droughts and the best way to cut carbon emissions from the power generating sector.
However, while the agency is planning on all these developments in the energy sector, the Ministry of Energy is arguing that Kenya should only go that way after they have exhausted other sources of energy.