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Nuclear power plant on the way, says Raila

By | October 28th 2009 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Standard Team

Prime Minister Raila Odinga says Kenya will soon construct a nuclear energy power plant.

Raila said the venture would be undertaken in collaboration with France.

"We have opened talks with France to establish a nuclear energy reactor as we also pursue expansion of green energy production to enhance growth," he said.

Speaking on arrival from a two-week foreign trip, the PM said restoration of the Mau and other water towers is vital.

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He told a Press conference on arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport that his efforts to market the Kenyan agenda were not in vein. The PM said world leaders he met pledged support.

He said France, through the French Development Agency, had increased funding to geothermal related activities to the tune of $ 7.2 billion (about Sh540 billion) to boost energy supply in the local market. Raila said the grant was earmarked for the expansion of the Ol Karia geothermal plant.

He said the France, China and Switzerland trip presented fora to sell the Kenyan dream ahead of the global conference on climate change in December in Copenhagen.

The premier, however, challenged leaders of the developing nations to push for funding for environmental conservation.

He said the $100 billion British PM Gordon Brown had proposed for mitigation of environmental issues in the third world ahead of the conference was insufficient.

Climate change

Raila urged nations to advocate for restoration of the fragile eco-system to reverse the effects of climate change. He cited the Mau conservation initiative as a case, which required sound financial resources.

He dispelled fears Kenya had in recent past appeared leaning to the East at the expense of countries in West, saying co-operation with China was in good faith.

The PM said partnership with China was mainly infrastructural, cultural and educational.

"The relation with China is not at the expense of any other country whatsoever but we have joint initiatives in railway, roads, ports, airport and telecommunication," he said.

At the same time, the PM is confident a regional common market will stimulate growth in East Africa.

Raila said plans by East African Community Heads of States to sign a protocol to that effect would expand growth prospects in member countries. The PM said the move would facilitate free movement of people, elimination of identity cards and expanded employment opportunities.

"The signing of the protocol is significant as the attainment of a monetary union has gathered momentum," said the premier.

EAC members have stepped up campaigns to have a common currency by 2012.

Raila made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by East African Community Minister Amason Kingi when he opened the second Lake Victoria Basin annual stakeholders forum in Kisumu, on Tuesday.

—By Morton Saulo, Peter Atsiaya and Roselyne Obala


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