The Star (Nairobi)

10 November 2012

Kenya: Coast, Nyanza, Turkana May Host Nuclear Plants

The Coast, Turkana and Nyanza are some of the areas targeted to host the region's first nuclear power plants. However, the Nuclear Electricity Project Committee says the exact host areas will be known after a scientific study.

"We cannot authoritatively say these are the places before we get the scientific study results but for now they are the most possible candidates to pioneer the programme," said NEPC executive director Ochillo Ayacko.

He said the areas have been selected because they have enough water needed for cooling the plants. They are also stable and not prone to earthquakes and volcanic activities.

Energy assistant minister Mohamed Mohamud said Kenyans should support the project. He said public confidence in the nuclear programme will help roll out the project quickly.

Mohamud said nuclear energy "is the only way to go" to solve energy crisis. "This is a programme that requires everyone's involvement for its success. But this can only happen when we drop the pessimistic attitude about the project because its benefits to the economy and Kenyans supersede its risks," he said.

"We cannot all stop driving a car just because there was an accident. The nuclear energy programme is doable and with no risks." Mohamud said the government has started educating the public about nuclear energy exploration and its benefits.

He said so far the government has given 21 students scholarships to study nuclear energy. He said the students are now in their second year. Ochilo said sufficient energy is key to the realisation of Vision 2030.

He said nuclear power will reduce the cost of electricity. He said the nuclear plants are expected to contribute 19 percent of the power supply to the national grid, with the first plant to be commissioned in 2022 planned to produce 1000MW, and other three plants expected to produce over 4000MW of electricity scheduled to be running in 2030.

Ochillo assured that the plants Kenya plans to set up will have high safety standards and accident free.

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