Plans to establish nuclear power plant challenged
Kenya’s dreams of establishing a nuclear power plant is facing its first hurdle after a man moved to court seeking to stop the government from going ahead with the project. Dr Josef Kipkemoi Kitur is opposing the plan to establish the nuclear plant by 2017 to become energy sufficient. He says the negative implications of having nuclear plant outweigh its positives and as a result the court should intervene and stop the process. Kitur’s main concern is devastating effect nuclear energy will have on environment.
In his view energy ministry is going about the business of establish nuclear plant without fully acknowledging and appreciating the greater risks involved in the nuclear energy. He wondered why Kenya chose to go for nuclear energy when many international communities are campaigning against it and withdrawing from it due to its negative environmental degradation.
Kitur says that the principle of sustainable development requires that economic and social development can be sustainable only if environment is protected from degradation. He notes that the fissile material and sources of ionizing radiation poses health, safety and environmental risks for very long time. “It is thus difficult to determine measures are necessary in order to protect generations adequately in the very remote and unpredictable future which Kenya as a developing country cannot cope and sustain,” he says.
Kenya in a bid to join the atomic energy user countries made its application to the international atomic energy agency and was approved. The government established nuclear electricity project committee which among other things is mandated to undertake extensive public awareness programs, review the energy policy to incorporate nuclear energy as one of the sources in the country.
This team was allocated $3 million (Sh252 million) for it to undertake its operations. And now Kitur is saying that the committee has embarked on the project without informing the public on the status and nature of undertakings. “No information so far has been forthcoming to the public from the committee. Information from the committee or the ministry is not available to the public.”
Kitur also argues that the current power supply in Kenya by other sources including hydro, thermal and wind are able to sustain the demand. He also says the United Nations Environmental Programme cautioned Kenya against the establishment of nuclear power plant since it has other sustainable sources of energy that can meet her needs.
And as a result he wants the court to direct the government to pursue clean, renewable source of energy due to grave risk of nuclear disaster and environment impacts of nuclear energy production, waste management. Also sought is a declaration that the plan to establish nuclear power plant is not properly informed and its ill timed.