Is Kenya ready for this monumental step as it takes a run for the construction of its first nuclear power plant in 2027?

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Kenya will take a run for construction of its first nuclear power plant in 2027 in line with its energy generation diversification agenda which have seen a surge in demand and a zero-carbon goal.
Edward Mayaka, who is the director responsible for partnerships and public awareness at Nuclear Regulatory Authority says that Kenya is all good and geared up for these great innovations and already aims to have its first nuclear plant ready by 2035.

At COP28 last month, Mr. Mayaka emphasized that nuclear energy can be very instrumental towards solving the challenges of climate change as it actually generates electricity without any direct emission of carbon dioxide while coal (the source of heat in fossil fuels) does.
“Due to this parameter only, atoms of nuclear energy have been playing into the hands of those around the global who want to save the environment,” he noted.

In March 2022, government identified Kwale and Kilifi as the most probable locations for the build of nuclear power plant under the reasoning that they are not likely to be prone to seismic activity.

Construction cost

The operation of a $6 billion (Sh884 billion) nuclear plant is expected.
The agency said it was looking for the best fit for the country in terms of the reactor they would build. Modern commercial scale nuclear reactors currently available are reportedly ranging from 1,000 MW -1,750 MW units with “well proven design characteristics and records of on-line performance”.
Meanwhile, this is observed at the global level where the nuclear power is in a constant revival of interest. The cases of refusal to start the nuclear programs in public and termination of the phase-out plans are being turned around after the growing concern of climate change.
Research work has revealed that the decommissioning of the nuclear power plants has stalled the emission cuts down in these countries a lot.

nuclear power
Researching the German and Japanese phase-out, about 28,000 deaths caused by air pollution can potentially have been stopped and 2,438 metric tons of Co2 emissions avoided from 2011 till 2017.
The last year in Kenya, the country’s nuclear project became one of the system most vibrant parts after signing a nuclear cooperation deal between Kenya and the United States.
What follows is that White House under the American Nuclear Society will determine how the peaceful nuclear technologies will be deployed do that they are used in medical, agricultural, and energy sectors, among other relevant fields.


Stage one is to commission 1,000 MW at the year of 2027 followed by 4,000 MW at the year 2035 as authorities announced in 2020 (NEMA submissions).
Kenya, is the naturally endowed county with renewable energy rich resources such as solar, geothermal and hydro power. Finally, there is the Sh2 trillion total cost of the entire project constituting four forty Gigawatt (GW) reactors, which gives an indication that Kenya is likely to not be able to finance her nuclear power scheme.
The Union of Concerned Scientists group of 2009 found a positive correlation between budget increase and labor cost over the period of 2002 and 2008. The cost grew from Sh200 billion to 900 billion per unit with up to 60% increase of the level of overheads in Europe.
It is this background that experts in energy from Italy and Germany (which are widening their green voltages) asked Kenya to think twice about the plan and explained that the country was better off developing more geothermal wells, solar parks and wind farms that are already available than extending the 16th century coal power projects.
Whether it is 10-years long time of construction periods, or costly abandoning of nuclear plants at the end of their lives, nuclear energy remains an unattractive investment for most countries.
However, the curveball was that several hundred countries started attracting to the nuclear energy production, and Asia along with the Arab block were the leaders amongst these countries. The International Atomic Energy Agency for his part revealed that the number of countries, that considered the nuclear power was almost 30 per 2019 with half of these being in Africa.

Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, Kenya, Sudan, Niger, Nigeria have teamed up with the IAEA to evaluate their aptitude for the adoption of a nuclear program. Also, Zambia, Uganda and Tunisia are the ones deliberating over the feasibility of the same path.

South Africa is the only African country that has been running a nuclear power plant for commercial purposes. Besides, that country is also concentrating on setting up a 2,500MW nuclear power plant in order to expand power production capacity.
On the other side, Algeria has already decided to construct nuclear energy plant instead of using uranium to gain the monopoly of this valuable asset in the country that account to 26,000 tons.
African interest in nuclear energy however has not prevented the knowledge that renewable energy alternatives such as solar and wind provide is cheaper and is an ‘eco-friendly way’ of increasing electrical power.

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