The Kenya Nuclear energy week was opened on 15th March 2017 by the Energy cabinet Secretary Mr. Charles Keter. This event was crafted to bring together different players in the energy sector to discuss issues related to Kenya’s ambition to adopt nuclear energy as one of the power sources in its energy mix.
The Kenya Nuclear Energy Board (KNEB), which is mandated with the development of nuclear power plant infrastructure for the country, said it targets to have a draft Nuclear Regulatory Bill 2016 bill ready by the end of 2017, to pave way for its enactment in early 2018.
Kenya has been shopping for a suitable partner to help in the development of Nuclear energy in the country. Russia, China and the Republic of Korea have pitched tent in the country to individually get Kenya into a deal to construct the plants. The government through KNEB has entered different memorandum of understanding arrangements with these countries.
Russia which has been putting up a strong show has offered to design, finance and build Kenya’s proposed nuclear power plant. On May 30, 2016, Rosatom from Russia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Kenya to promote nuclear solutions, assist in training personnel, create public awareness, and design agriculture and medical solutions. Russia is seeking to strike a deal through its state-owned Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation. Rosatom through its regional vice president for Sub-Saharan Africa Viktor Polikarpov said before the conference that the Moscow-based entity, through an intergovernmental arrangement, is ready to support Kenya put up its plants on a Build–Operate–Transfer model or Private-Public-Partnership consortium. “We are currently providing the VVER-1200 generation III reactor which is the safest in the world. We can offer this preferred solution to the Kenyan government if given a chance,” Polikarpov said.
Kenya plans to set up four nuclear plants to satisfy it perceived energy needs, with the first expected to be switched on in 2025. The Energy CS Charles Keter while opening the conference said the government was keen on tapping into nuclear electricity, which is part of its vision 2030 of meeting industrial growth through reliable and affordable energy. Also speaking at the Nuclear conference the Energy PS Joseph Njoroge said there is need for continuous stakeholder engagement to help resolve “wide spread concerns” of nuclear energy.
Rosatom, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) and the Chinese Embassy in Kenya all fronted their expertise at the conference. In 2016 the government entered a deal with the Koreans to help in capacity building toward nuclear energy realization. The 2016 deal between KNEB and KEPCO, Korea Nuclear Association for International Cooperation (KNAIC) and the KEPCO International Graduate School (KINGS) put in place a partnership which would enable Kenya obtain expertise from South Korea through capacity building, specialized training and skills development.
Ms. Winfred Ndubai the Ag. Technical Affair director of KNEB said they are in the process of conducting a Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment for the project. The process of selecting a site is also ongoing.