Kenya is set to build a Sh540 billion nuclear power plant on in Tana River County . The project that is majorly bankrolled by private investors will be carried out over the next seven years.
In a filing document with the National Environment Management Authority (Nema), Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) revealed that the a 1,000 megawatt (Mw) capacity plant will be built through a concessionaire.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration has hinted at expanding the plant’s capacity fourfold by 2035 under a build, operate and transfer (BOT) model.
The KNEB proposal, however, will have to go through public scrutiny before getting approval from Nema to continue.
The plant will be the country’s long term solution to high fuel costs incurred during dry seasons when power producers are forced to rely on diesen in power generation. The plant will also help in cutting out carbon emission from players in power generating sector.
The total cost of building the plant is nearly half the government’s annual tax collection.
“The financing aspect of the Nuclear Power Plant is among the plans underway with a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) being the most preferred financing agreement with the concessionaire that shall come on board,” KNEB wrote in documents submitted NEMA.
KNEB further clarified that they preferred Tana River because it not prone to earthquakes but other areas around Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana were viable options too as they boast of large water masses needed for cooling nuke reactors.
Currently South Africa is the only country in the continent with a nuclear power plant, in Cape Town.
The plant when complete will add to the country’s energy mix which comprises of Geothermal, 45%, Hydropower ,28%, Wind, 13% and Diesel-run generators ,11%.
The Economic Survey also rank diesel generated power as the most expensive. Hydropower is the cheapest but experts say it is unreliable because it depends heavily on the weather.
Hydropower is not reliable during drought leaving huge gaps to be filled by nuclear that runs for long and uninterrupted.
The plant will be the country’s largest after the SGR Railway built by the Chinese
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