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