Kenya is seeking to use more cost-effective sources of nuclear energy which has been identified as a key option.Steps are being taken to improve preparedness for prolonged power outages, protected backup power sources, and ensure the availability of water for cooling even under intense conditions.
Patrick Nyoike, permanent secretary, for the Department of Energy said that in the next five years the country will need $ 3 billion to set up a 1000MW nuclear reactor. He did not indicate where the money would come from but the urgent need for power will force the government to look for funds.
The government is looking at a time-line between 2022 and 2025 to start generating nuclear energy that would enable a planning time of 10 years to facilitate preparations in security, training of personnel, and other safety features. The government said that it plans to invite bids for the construction of the nuclear electricity plant in the next five years so that the project is complete by the year 2022.
“After the Fukushima incident in March 2011 there has been a reassessment all around the world about the safety of nuclear technology for electricity production” said Mr. Nyoike. He said that the country has made a resolute decision to move ahead with the investment in the plant despite negative sentiments about nuclear safety after the incident that exposed the people of Japan to radiation.
He further added that there was no reverse gear in the decision to embrace nuclear electricity development.
Kenya’s electricity generation is a meagre 1400 MW a year as compared to South Africa’s 40,000 MW and this situation had discouraged large scale investors from setting up operations in Kenya.