NAIROBI, KENYA: Kenya will soon have the first nuclear plant in efforts aimed at drastically reducing the cost of electricity and attracting international investors to the country.
Speaking when he opened the National Nuclear Energy Stakeholders Forum at the Laico Regency hotel on Tuesday, Deputy President Wiliiam Ruto pointed out that the country would develop the nuclear plant alongside other sources of energy including geothermal, hydro, wind and solar so as to produce energy to drive the economy to double digits.
The DP said the government was committed to increase the capacity of electricity in the country to 5,000 megawatts in the next 40 months and expressed confidence that this will push the cost of production of energy in the country down from 18 U.S.cents to 10 U.S.cents per unit.
He said, “We want to grow the economy at double digits, deal with unemployment, underemployment by creating more job opportunities in the country.”
Noting that the country has only been able to produce 1600 megawatts of electricity in the last 50 years, Ruto gave a government undertaking to triple the production saying there was ready market for the increased energy in the standard railway and in the rest of Kenyans who are not connected to the national grid.
He said, “The Standard gauge railway will consume 1000 megawatts by itself and we will be able to bring to the national grid the 69 per cent of Kenyans who are not connected.”
The Deputy President noted with satisfaction that the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum is pursuing the option of nuclear electricity as a source of energy for the country’s ever growing domestic and industrial needs.
Saying the decision by the Government to include nuclear electricity in its energy mix is based on sound premises, Ruto observed that World over, countries that are now referred to as developed nations share the common trait of having adequate energy to power their industries, homes and even surplus for export.
He disabused the notion about the risk of unclear energy saying nuclear energy has been used for more than half a century worldwide.
“I have no doubt that Kenya will be successfully implement its nuclear power programme safely and efficiently , borrowing from best practices in countries that have embraced and used the technology successfully for many decades,” he added.
The DP called for radical paradigm shift in the country’s thinking, stating that Kenya’s intention of using nuclear energy for electricity generation reflects the sort of thinking which can propel a country from relative mediocrity to the realms of greatness.