The Indian Ocean, Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana have been identified as the most ideal sites for construction of Nuclear Power Plants. The government anticipates the construction will kick off immediately once the deal has been finalised with the Chinese Firm.
The Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (NuPEA) said it has contracted a Chinese firm- China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC)- determine the most suitable location in an ambitious two-year Site Characterisation study. NuPEA has set the consultation fee to be Ksh50 Million.
On Tuesday 16/07/2019, it was brought to the attention of The National Assembly’s Energy committee that the project will cost the government Ksh1.5.
“Currently, we have zeroed in at the coast along the Indian Ocean, Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana as the most ideal sites. We have excluded the Rift Valley because we need enough water to cool the plant,” Mr Collins Juma, the NuPEA chief executive said.
The Nuclear power plant is expected to have a capacity of 1,000 megawatt(MW) by 2027. This will reduce the energy demand in Kenya. Currently, hydropower accounts for 35 percent of Kenya’s electricity generation, with the rest coming from geothermal, wind and diesel powered plants.
Plans to develop a 1,050-megawatt coal-fired plant on the coast, using funding from China, have been delayed by court action from environmental activists.
NuPEA forecasts its capacity rising to a total 4,000MW by 2033 making nuclear electricity a key component of the country’s energy mix.
“Two years is an ambitious timeline to get coordinates for site characterisation. Characterisation takes long because Turkey, Nigeria and Russia took three years. We should be talking of three years,” Mr Juma told MPs.
He said NuPEA has entered into a Sh50 million consultancy with China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) for the characterisation study.
The agency said it has trained 29 Kenyans on nuclear energy, all of whom graduated with Master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering from top universities in Korea, China and Russia.
Kenya views nuclear power both as a long-term solution to high fuel costs — incurred during times of drought when diesel generators are used — and an effective way to cut carbon emissions from the power generating sector.