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Kenya seeks regulatory approval for nuclear power plant

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Kenya is seeking regulatory approval to allow the country to construct a nuclear power plant to boost its energy portfolio but a move that is set to put it at loggerheads with environmentalists.

Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (NuPEA), says that it is seeking regulatory approval for construction of a KES540 billion ($5bn) nuclear power plant in Tana River County after it submitted its request to the National Environment Management Authority.

NuPEA said it is on course to build and operate Kenya’s  first nuclear power plant in Tana River by 2027.

“The first nuclear power plant of 1,000MWe, is expected to be commissioned by the year 2027 and it is expected to grow to 4,000MWe by 2035,” NuPEA said, adding that it was evaluating technologies to identify the ideal reactor for Kenya.

The modern nuclear reactors available in the international market are large-sized devices in the range 1,000 MWe –1,750 MWe with “proven design technology and performance records”, NuPEA noted.

Four reactors totalling 4,000MW are projected to be on site by 2035, putting the total cost of the project at about KES 2 trillion.

NuPEA prefers the Nuclear Power Plant to be undertaken under the Build Operate Transfer (BOT) model.

The nuclear plant would be Kenya’s biggest and most expensive project since the Chinese-built standard gauge railway. The KNEB has running memoranda of understanding with China, Russia, South Korea and Slovakia for capacity building for the nuclear plant.

Africa countries most hit by inadequate electricity supply has in recent years shift focus to clean energy particularly nuclear. Last month, Nigeria signed an agreement with Russia’s nuclear firm Rosatom to build two first nuclear power plants in the country.

South Africa is operating a nuclear plant while Egypt is on advanced stages of setting upa nuclear power plant in the country. Ghana, Tunisia, Uganda and Tanzania are all planning to set up first nuclear power plants.

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