3 May 2013 - The Kenyan government has maintained its interest in nuclear energy as a source of power. This is illustrated by it having dispatched 11 local people for training in South Korea as part of efforts to enhance electricity generation capacity to over 19,000 MW by 2030.

The team of representatives from Kenya will undertake postgraduate studies in nuclear science at the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) training school.

Vision 2030 delivery secretariat, director general, Mugo Kibati says, “As part of the wider effort to enhance and diversify our electricity generation capacity, Vision 2030 is encouraged that a team of Kenyans students are now taking their postgraduate nuclear engineering studies in South Korea.”

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 the second highest in East Africa and analysts say harnessing power from geothermal sources 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 blueprint of achieving middle income status by 2030.

The east African country’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% of total electricity, thermal 32.5%, geothermal 13.2%, bagasse 1.8% and wind 0.4%.

Kibati says 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 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.”

The Kepco International Nuclear Graduate School, where the Kenyans will be studying, is an educational institute established to cultivate leadership-level professionals in planning, design, construction, operation and management of nuclear power plants.