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Kenya’s Studied Approach to a Nuclear Future via ANS Nuclear Cafe

There has been an increasing amount of press lately about the growing number of nations on the continent of Africa interested in exploring the benefits of nuclear energy.  South Africa has led the way in this realm, having had operational nuclear power for many years.  Kenya plans to follow next.

Interest in nuclear energy in Kenya began to take formal shape in 2010 with the formation of the Nuclear Electricity Project Committee (NEPC) whose purpose was to fast-track the development of nuclear power in Kenya.  NEPC also launched a modern and well-thought-out public information campaign using the internet and social media.  In 2012, NEPC became the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) which is a statutory body taking the next steps in developing not only nuclear energy but also an independent regulatory body.  The excellent communications of the previous NEPC have been expanded and improved by KNEB, so the public is educated about the benefits and technical demands of nuclear energy.  In the establishment of its program, Kenya is proceeding in accord with the general IAEA guidelines on the development of nuclear energy.

In pursuit of its goal, Kenya has sent a number of highly qualified students to study nuclear engineering at Korea Electric Power Company’s KEPCO International Nuclear Graduate School (KINGS), located in the Kori nuclear power complex in South Korea.  Kenya has recognized the challenge of training people in its own country, which has yet to establish a nuclear regulator or industry, and has sent students to a number of places around the globe as a key element of the establishment of a nuclear industry.

Why Nuclear for Kenya?

Data at the KNEB site tells us that not only Kenya’s but Africa’s overall power demand is increasing, and expected to continue to do so.  Kenya, for example, expects that its sweeping, nation-wide power modernization program will enable rapid growth to a level of perhaps just under 17,000 MWe by 2031.  To meet the growing demand, Kenya hopes to have its first 1000 MWe nuclear unit online around 2022, with additional units in 2026, 2029 and finally in 2031.  Their site also illuminates a greater benefit:  “It is further noted,” the site observes, “that the introduction of nuclear electricity into the grid is justified by the growing demand for huge power within the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP) whose objective is to create a common market for power in the East African region.”

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