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Kenya to set up first nuclear power plant by 2027

The power plant is expected to cost about Sh500 billion.

Kenya is gearing up to facilitate the building of a nuclear power plant set for 2027 with construction expected to start within seven years.

The government on Tuesday said plans are already underway to form a special purpose vehicle which will be instrumental in sourcing for funding of the plant that is expected to cost about Sh500 billion.

“The journey to have a nuclear plant started in 2009 and already we have done prefeasibility study and we have been doing the siting work for the last five years but we are hopeful that by 2024 construction works should begin, which will make us the second country in Africa after South Africa to set up a nuclear power plant,”said Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (Kneb) chief officer Collins Juma.

The Board is currently identifying possible sites of where the plant will be set up in the hope that they will be found within the next two years.

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The plant is expected to create about 5000 new jobs throughout its construction, majority of whom will be drawn from the local labour pool.

Kenya plans to build a 1000Megawatts (MW) nuclear power plant aimed at increasing power capacity that is currently at 1700MW and is projected that the country will need 16, 000MW of electricity by 2030.

Mr. Juma however noted the programme is capital-intensive, with building a single nuclear power plant capable of producing 1,000 MW costing between Sh500 billion and Sh600 bilion.

In that regard, Mr. Juma said Kenya has signed a memorandum of understanding with four countries to help it in capacity building as the process is capital intensive and requires highly skilled personnel.

Nuclear power is considered environmentally friendly being among the lowest carbon dioxide emitters when emissions throughout the entire life cycle are considered.

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Currently, there are about 483 nuclear power reactors in operation worldwide with a total installed capacity of 374,000 MW and 71 nuclear power reactors under construction.

Some of other countries in Africa building nuclear power plants include Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Tunisia, Uganda and Tanzania.

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