Nuclear Energy In Kenya – Is Kenya Biting More Than She Can Swallow? via Boell

Kenya’s electricity framework is one of the most developed in sub-Saharan Africa. The numerous reforms that the Kenyan Government has promoted over the past 15 years have led to further competition and efficiency gains. Since 2006, the number of people with access to electricity has risen on average by 17% annually. Currently, the installed power generation capacity has increased by over 50% since 2006 and as at end of 2015, was at 2,147MW.

Despite these improvements, power supply is still not reliable. Only an estimated 30% of the population has access to electricity. In rural areas, especially in the sparsely populated north, less than 5% of households are connected to the grid. Power outages are common due to overwhelming demand and inadequate transmission and distribution technologies. The vast majority of Kenya’s energy consumption (68%) is still covered by biomass, which is primarily used for cooking with more than 90% of households in rural areas using this form of energy.


In 2010, Kenya announced her intention to actively pursue the development of nuclear energy as one of the generation sources to boost the country’s electricity grid. The country’s nuclear energy strategy proposes four nuclear power plants by 2030, each with an installed capacity of 1,000 MW of energy that will provide continuous electricity supply for the next 60 years.

Progress of the Nuclear Power Programme in Kenya

Early this year, a 10 man strong International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team conducted an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission in Kenya and concluded the country had made significant progress in its preparations to develop a nuclear power infrastructure. They identified progress in some areas, such as establishment of key goals and requirements to guide the nuclear power programme and setting up of the necessary legal and regulatory framework through the Kenya Abridged Pre-feasibility Test.

For this comprehensive review, Kenya completed a self-assessment, which is a pre-requisite for an INIR mission, as well as a pre-feasibility study that considered the 19 infrastructure issues. The country is still in the project decision-making phase in which it addresses; capacity-building programmes, development of legal and Institutional framework and feasibility study on the first nuclear power plant. The big hurdle remains in realizing the construction phase which was planned to kick-start by 2017.



In recent years, Germany has drawn international attention to its Energy Transition (Energiewende) with observers querying why a strong economy like Germany would turn its back to nuclear energy and push towards renewable energies. One major aim of the German Energiewende is to decarbonize the economy by switching to renewable sources and to reduce energy demand by achieving efficiency savings.

The year 2016, marking the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe and the 5th year since the Fukushima disaster started unfolding, might strangely go down in history as the period when the notion of risk of nuclear power plants turned into the perception of nuclear power plants at risk.

In addition to the usual global overview of status and trends in reactor building and operating, as well as the traditional comparison between deployment trend in the nuclear power and renewable energy sectors, the 2016 edition of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR) provides an assessment of the trends of the economic health of some of the major players in the industry. Special chapters are devoted to the aftermath of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters.

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