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iAfrica News Kenya Focus 

June 07 - 13, 2013

 

 Coastweek   Kenya


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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

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Investors commend nuclear energy plan for power generation

the use of nuclear technology for electricity generation will greatly boost the country’s manufacturing sector, create jobs, attract more industrial investors

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) on Tuesday welcomed the planned introduction of nuclear energy as alternative source of power in the East African nation.

KAM CEO Betty Maina said the use of nuclear technology for electricity generation will greatly boost the country’s manufacturing sector, create jobs, attract more industrial investors and grow the economy.

We have geothermal, hydro and the like. The inclusion of nuclear energy is welcome since we need almost 19,000 MW to achieve Vision 2030,” Maina said during a familiarization visit to the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board in Nairobi.

Kenya generates locally an average of 630 million KWh of electricity per month. In 2012, the East African nation recorded the highest power generation in October at 654 million KWh and the lowest in April at 572 million KWh.

The bulk of the electricity is generated from hydro sources, followed by thermal and geo-thermal. In December last year, Kenya generated 368 million KWh from hydro sources, 130 million KWh from geo-thermal and 148 million thermal sources.

In November, the figures stood at 372 million KWh, 120 million KWh and 159 million KWh respectively.

The power generated locally, added to imports from Tanzania and Uganda puts the East African nation’s overall power generation to an average of 650 million KWh.

Maina emphasized that for Kenya to attain the flagship projects and goals of Vision 2030, additional sources of energy were necessary.

The KAM CEO said there naturally would be anxieties around nuclear energy which can however be addressed by adequate public education and sensitization on the subject.

Nuclear energy evokes many thoughts. Ultimately, the key issue is to ensure safety aspects are adequately addressed. But all said and done, we need to embrace this technology,” she said.

The East African nation has intensified efforts to generate its own power from other sources, besides hydro, thermal and geothermal. The East African nation is working on an ambitious nuclear programme that will help produce energy to power the country.

KNEB Executive Chairman Ochilo Ayacko said that the organization was currently engaged in capacity building necessary for the success of the nuclear electricity programme.

We are building a core of highly skilled individuals. Current training programmes are in Kenya and Korea. Weplan to extend this to Slovakia soon,” he said.

Ayacko said that KNEB is also preparing the framework for the necessary laws to govern nuclear electricity generation in Kenya.

That framework will include the setting up of a regulatory body to oversee all aspects in the lead up to the commissioning of Kenya’s first 1000 MW nuclear power plant in 2022.

A legal framework for nuclear energy involves public participation. We will undertake extensive public outreach to ensure Kenyans are aware of the benefits of nuclear energy and why the country needs it,” he said.

Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt are among the African countries, besides Kenya, referred to as advanced new countries in their efforts to use nuclear energy for electricity production.

KNEB is currently undertaking a prefeasibility study addressing 19 key technical issues.

The outcome of that study will determine the direction of Kenya’ s nuclear energy programme including the candidate sites to host the country’s nuclear power plants.

KAM and KNEB intend to build a long-term partnership given the former’s role as an umbrella body for a sector who are large consumers of electricity and the latter’s position as the organization tasked with fast tracking the introduction of nuclear electricity generation in Kenya.

The East African nation has been facing unreliable supply of electricity highlighted by frequent power blackouts mainly blamed on higher demand than current installed capacity.

Even more worrying is that the electricity tariff is second highest in East Africa and analysts say harnessing power from geothermal is a capital intensive and high risk venture, which has scared away most, would be explorers.

Geothermal generation is being seen as the best source of affordable electricity for Kenya as part of its development blue print of achieving middle income status by the year 2030.

The East African nation’s current electricity demand is 1,191 MW while the effective installed capacity under normal hydrology is 1,429 MW.

Hydro sources contribute 52.1 per cent of total electricity, thermal 32.5 per cent, geothermal 13.2 per cent, baggase 1.8 per cent and wind 0.4 per cent.

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Kenya trains nuclear scientists
to boost electricity generation

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government has dispatched 11 local nuclear scientists for training in South Korea as part of efforts to enhance electricity generation capacity to over 19,000 MW by 2030.

As part of the master plan to increase Kenya’s installed electricity capacity over the next two decades, Kenya has dispatched a team of scientists to undertake postgraduate studies in Nuclear Science at the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) training school.

Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat, Director General, Mugo Kibati said on Thursday a team of 11 Kenyan Nuclear scientists are, now enrolled at the prestigious KEPCO International Nuclear Graduate School (KINGS).

As part of the wider effort to enhance and diversify our electricity generation capacity, Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat is encouraged that a team of Kenyans students are now taking their Nuclear Science studies in South Korea,” Kibati said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

Kenya has been facing unreliable supply of electricity highlighted by frequent power blackouts mainly blamed on higher demand than current installed capacity.

Even more worrying is that the electricity tariff is second highest in East Africa and analysts say harnessing power from geothermal is a capital intensive and high risk venture, which has scared away most, would be explorers.

Geothermal generation is being seen as the best source of affordable electricity for Kenya as part of its development blue print of achieving middle income status by the year 2030.

The East African nation’s current electricity demand is 1,191 MW while the effective installed capacity under normal hydrology is 1,429 MW.

Hydro sources contribute 52.1 percent of total electricity, thermal 32.5 percent, geothermal 13.2 percent, baggase 1.8 percent and wind 0.4 percent.

At the KINGS training complex, Kibaki said, the students will undertake studies in various Nuclear Power Production (NPP) disciplines as part of a bilateral cooperation agreement between Kenya and Korea.

He noted that in tandem with the training programs, Kenya’s plan to engage in nuclear electricity production is well on course under the direction of the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board.

The 11 postgraduate students enrolled this year, Kibati disclosed, will pursue a comprehensive two-year Masters Degree program in Nuclear Engineering.

Upon graduation, the Nuclear Scientists will play a key role in laying the groundwork for Kenya’s nuclear electricity generation plans over the next two decades as envisaged in the Vision 2030 National Development policy.

Over the past few years, Kenya has been sending a number of students to study at the prestigious KINGS school in Korea which will ultimately enable us to design and build a nuclear power plant by the year 2022,” Kibaiti said.

Besides the 2013 class comprising of 11 students, a further six students drawn from the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board, Kenya Power and Kenya’s Radiation Protection Board admitted last year are now concluding their two year Masters Studies in power generation, power transmission, and radiation safety.

The integration of a nuclear electricity generation plant in Kenya is part of continental effort by more than 12 African governments to facilitate the diversification of power generation, “ Kibaki said.

The KEPCO International Nuclear Graduate School (KINGS) is an educational institute established to cultivate leadership-level professionals in planning, design, construction, operation and management of nuclear power plants (NPPs).

The training programs, curriculum and teaching methods adopted at KINGS are, uniquely and innovatively designed to educate and train international nuclear professionals who will contribute to enhance nuclear safety and technology.

KINGS aims to be a worldwide provider of the qualified Nuclear Power Production (NPP) professionals through new study programs, which include learning lifecycle issues, and associated technologies of NPP and hands-on experience at Kori NPP complex located at the southern seashore of the Korean peninsula.

The partnership with Korea is just one of the initiatives embraced by the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB).

Locally, 28 students sponsored by KNEB are currently undertaking Master of Science in Nuclear Science degree course at the University of Nairobi’s Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology.

Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) Executive Chairman Ochilo Ayacko said that it is within the mandate of the organization to build the capacity and human resource skills of Kenyans in this specialized field.

We are using local and international resources to enable Kenyans to be trained to an adequate level of competency to run all aspects of the Nuclear Power Program,” Ayacko said.

He noted that a nuclear power program has three key facets: a Nuclear Electricity Program Implementing Organization (NEPIO), which is the role KNEB is performing, a regulator who will ensure application of nuclear technology is done safely with safeguards for human life and property. The third arm is the operator, which is the body that will run the nuclear power plant.

All these organisations require highly skilled manpower, conscious of safety, security and safeguards requirements as per the International Atomic Energy Agency’s guidelines,” Ayacko said.

The net benefit of the increased power generation capacity will be a more competitive country, which is able to attract foreign investors, stimulate growth of the manufacturing sector, ensure energy security and ultimately the achievement of the Vision 2030 flagship projects.

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