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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ministry pushes for passage of nuclear power law by 2018

Ministry of energy and Petroleum cabinet secretary Charles Keter with Korea advanced Institute of Science and Technology professor Kun Mo Chung during the Nuclear energy conference in Nairobi on March 14,2017.
PHOTO/ENOS TECHE.
Ministry of energy and Petroleum cabinet secretary Charles Keter with Korea advanced Institute of Science and Technology professor Kun Mo Chung during the Nuclear energy conference in Nairobi on March 14,2017. PHOTO/ENOS TECHE.

Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board said yesterday it was in the final phase of drafting the regulatory framework to guide the proposed setting up of nuclear electricity plant in 2017.

KNEB, which is mandated with developing nuclear power plant infrastructure for the country, said it targets to have the draft Nuclear Regulatory Bill 2016 bill ready by the end of this year, to pave way for enactment in early 2018.

This is ahead of 2022 when the ambitious construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant is expected to start. The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum plans to commission 1,000MW nuclear power plant in 2027.

“We are targeting to have a nuclear policy and legislations in place by next year. In two years, we will conduct a feasibility study which will give us a document that will guide us on building the plant,” said KNEB technical affairs acting director Winnie Ndubai.

The bill is expected to incorporate among others security, safety measures to largely address radiation and management of the plant.

She spoke during the ongoing three-day Kenya Nuclear Energy Regional Conference that kicked off started in Nairobi yesterday. Russia, China and the Republic of Korea have pitched tent to individually lure Kenya into a deal to construct the plant.

Energy CS Charles Keter said the government was keen on tapping into nuclear electricity, which is part of its vision 2030 of meeting industrial growth through reliable and affordable energy.

He said the decision to incorporate nuclear energy was informed by the growing demand for electricity, which will not be sustained by the current renewable sources in the near future.

“We will require 30,000megawatts by 2030. The potential for geothermal will be 15,000megawatts while thermal capacity will be 1,000megawatts. Together with other renewable, we will have 20,000 megawatts,” Keter said. “It may sound like a dream but reality will come.”

Energy PS Joseph Njoroge said there is need for continuous stakeholder engagement to help resolve “wide spread concerns” of nuclear energy.

“The journey takes long in terms of certification and construction but I am sure by 2027, we will be very ready in generating nuclear energy and integrate it in our grid,” Njoroge said.

Russia’s state-owned Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, Korea Electric Power Corporation and the Chinese Embassy in Kenya both fronted their expertise at the conferences.

KNEB said is in the process of conducting a Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment for the project. The process of selecting a site, which has remained highly guarded, is also ongoing, Ndubai said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency conducted an assessment of Kenya’s progress in 2015, and its recommendations last year, which include 15 areas of improvement.

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