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Kenya government will commission nuclear power plant by 2027

by Ben Ochieng NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government said on Tuesday that it plans to commission its first nuclear power plant by 2027.

Charles Keter, Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum, who did not give the exact timeline said his ministry is adhering to the stringent guidelines that are set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"Kenya’s dream of integrating nuclear energy into the national electricity grid will come to fruition in line with our Vision 2030.

"However, I will not commit myself to the exact time frame because we do not know exactly when we shall meet the IAEA rigorous condition," the CS said in Nairobi during the launch of the Kenya Nuclear Energy Week and Conference.

The forum aims at bringing issues related to nuclear energy to the front burner of the national conversation, harnessing the capacity, knowledge and expertise of three leading nuclear-producing countries: China, South Korea, and Russia.

Kenya’s journey to acquisition of a nuclear reactor commenced in 2010 following recommendation by the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), which is an advisory organization to the government that provides timely, accurate and independent economic and social advice to improve the management of the economy.

The East African nation plans to commence construction of its first nuclear power plant, estimated to cost 5 billion U.S. dollars, by 2021 as the east African country seeks to bring down the cost of electricity by adding 1,000 megawatt capacity that will double the current electricity generation.

The country generates about 2,300 megawatts of power mainly from hydro-electricity and geothermal facilities, which are unreliable and expensive forms of power supply and deterrent to investment in east Africa’s biggest economy.

The Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Embassy of China, Guo Ce, said Kenya and China have achieved a lot in energy cooperation in recent years, during which Chinese companies have drilled 145 wells at the Olkaria Geothermal Project that have increased electricity capacity to the national grid by 20 percent and in the process lowered integrated price of the commodity by 30 percent.

"Electricity transmission projects by Chinese implemented by companies in Kenya have connected more residents to stable and reliable power and they are still following up some other geothermal projects and wind power plants," he noted.


Kenyan expert urges robust investments in nuclear research

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government must allocate adequate funds to support nuclear research and innovation in a bid to hasten industrial transformation, an expert said on Thursday.

Director of the Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology at the University of Nairobi, David Maina, said Kenya should allocate sufficient funds in the nuclear technology arena if the country is to realize the target of commissioning a nuclear plant by 2027.

"There is no need to train students in nuclear science when you don’t know what to do with them later. Many undergraduates study the subject but later divert to other fields due to lack of research funds to further their studies," Maina remarked on the sidelines of the Kenya Nuclear Week and Conference in Nairobi.

During the 2016 financial year, the Kenya Nuclear Energy Board got a budget allocation of 3.4 million U.S. dollars for its nuclear power development.

The director said the university offers scholarships to two students to study nuclear science, out of the 17 students who are sponsored by the government annually.

The forum brought together nuclear energy experts from Kenya, China, South Korea, and Russia to discuss issues related to nuclear energy with the aim of bringing the concerns to the front burner of the national conversation, harness the capacity, knowledge and expertise of the three leading nuclear-producing countries.



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