Kenya not ready to generate nuclear energy
By Erick Kizito
| October 4th 2016
Six years ago, Kenya announced it was going to build a
nuclear power plant, which would generate 1,000MW (1GW) of electricity.
By 2030, the country hopes to produce 4GW from nuclear
sources. This implies that nuclear will at that time account for 19 per cent of
Kenya's total energy output, second to hydroelectric power.
I am highly pessimistic about Africa's largest geothermal
energy producer's capacity to harness and safely utilize nuclear energy.
It is only KenGen that is showing seriousness in geothermal
energy production and putting in place safety measures to curb accidents and
damages. The overriding concern about any nuclear project is safety. There is
the potential damage in terms of costs and casualties in the event of a nuclear
Although advancements in nuclear science have led to
improved reactor designs with the ability to shut down automatically during an
emergency, scientists say the probability of a nuclear accident will never be
In the event of a reactor meltdown or terrorist attack on
the plant, which would release dangerous radioactive particles into the
atmosphere, Kenya's disaster preparedness and response will ultimately make the
difference between minimal and widespread damage.
The second concern is disposal of radioactive waste from the
plant, which is hazardous to human health and the environment.
The third worry is that much of the knowledge and materials
employed in a civilian nuclear programme can be used to develop nuclear
Kenya is a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation
of Nuclear Weapons, which aims to promote safe use of nuclear energy by
preventing the spread of nuclear weapons or their technology.
Kenya's installed electricity generation capacity is much
smaller than the expected nuclear output.
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