The UN nuclear agency will help African states cooperate in the development of nuclear sources for electricity generation. A number of African states have already expressed interest in the development of nuclear power. This was announced during the opening of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Mission of Kenya’s Nuclear Electricity Programme.
The Infrastructure Mission will involve 11 international nuclear energy experts reviewing Kenya’s progress towards including nuclear energy into its energy mix. The team will also carry out a one-week study on Kenya nuclear programme and is expected to deliver a report in three months. Nuclear energy will diversify Kenya’s electricity generation capacity.
According to the IAEA, nuclear power does have a role to play as part of a robust energy portfolio across Africa. The nuclear agency will advise African states on the international standards and best practice, but national regulators will oversee individual country nuclear power programs.
Data from the IAEA, shows that about 620 million people in Sub Saharan Africa don’t have access to electricity while those who have it, don’t have reliable supply. Developing Nuclear energy comprises of three phases, Kenya has completed a pre-feasibility study and self evaluations, and is about to finalize the first phase. Kenya Nuclear Energy Board (KNEB) expects to have the first power plant to start operating in 2023.
Kenya intends to construct four nuclear power plants with a capacity to generate 1,000MW each. The estimated cost of the plants is between KES500 billion and KES900 billion per plant.
N/B: South Africa is the only African nation that is currently operating a nuclear power plant. Morocco has expressed interest to use nuclear power, while Nigeria and Egypt have already taken decision to use nuclear energy.