1 October 2009 – Kenya is now experiencing an energy deficit of 3,000 megawatts despite its current production of 1,100 megawatts, and looks to harnessing nuclear energy for electricity generation in order to fill the gap.
Although this requires a huge initial capital investment, estimated at more than $1 billion USD, consequent operating costs would be low when compared to other generation options.
Across the world, nuclear power plants already provide 17 percent of the world’s total supply of electricity estimated at 372 gigawatts. Countries such as France, Sweden, and Belgium currently rely on nuclear power for more than 50 percent of their total electrical energy supplies while countries such as Finland, Japan, and Spain receive approximately 30% of their total supplies from nuclear power. Nuclear generation produces practically no emissions of carbon, sulphur, or nitrogen oxides.
However, the Kenya Government will not be able to afford to go it alone and instead will require a mutual cooperation amongst itself, its development partners and other specialized agencies like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in order to share experiences, expertise, and the provision of facilities. Like every other source of energy, nuclear power generates wastes that must be managed and disposed off appropriately. The transition to nuclear generation as an addition to a nation’s energy mix requires a long-term and comprehensive commitment.
The generation of electric power in most countries remains largely dependent on hydro and fossil fuels–oil, coal, gases which are heavy pollutants to the global environment, especially carbon dioxide which is believed to be principally responsible for global warming.
Kenya concludes that it will seek advice from the nuclear community, develop necessary facilities, and consciously raise awareness of nuclear responsibilities.