HomeRegional NewsBRICSKenya signs deal with China for 1,000MW nuclear plant

Kenya signs deal with China for 1,000MW nuclear plant

Kenya plans to add 4,000MW of nuclear power to the national grid by 2033

On Thursday, the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) announced that Kenya has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China for the development of a nuclear power station, which is expected to come online by 2025.

According to KNEB, Kenya plans to build its first nuclear power station with a generation capacity of 1,000MW.

The country has intentions to increase that number to 4,000MW by 2033 and officially make nuclear power “a key component of the country’s energy” production, the AFP reported.

Developing power agreements

The MoU will enable Kenya to “obtain expertise from China by way of training and skills development, technical support in areas such as site selection for Kenya’s nuclear power plants and feasibility studies,” KNEB said in statement.

In addition to China, KNEB added that Kenya has entered into cooperation agreements with Slovakia and South Korea.

Nuclear an integral part of energy mix

In August, Energy and Petroleum Principal Secretary Eng. Joseph Njoroge said that nuclear power will play a critical role in Kenya’s energy mix within the next ten years, Standard Media reported.

Speaking at the official opening of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) status review of Kenya’s Nuclear power programme, Njoroge assured delegates that the power programme will be implemented with safety a key consideration.

“Kenya will successfully implement its nuclear power programme safely and efficiently, borrowing from best practices in countries that have used the technology.

Njoroge added: “There is no reverse gear on this road toward economic growth and prosperity. Nuclear electricity is part of the package that will get us there. The energy mix in Kenya needs a variety of sources as we strive to realize the Vision 2030 aspirations.”

Additional power generation

In attempts to provide reliable, affordable and sustainable power to residents of Kenya, the country has incorporated various renewable power resources into its energy generation mix.

Kenya’s Olkaria 1 geothermal power plant has enabled the country to reduce the amount of imported power by nearly 52% in the first half of this year.

The drop in power imports can be linked to the 280MW geothermal power plant, Olkaria 1, which came online at the end of 2014.

“The 140MW Olkaria 1 additional Unit 5, the last phase of the single largest geothermal project in Africa was commissioned in December 2014 following successful reliability tests. The plant is now adding140MW to the national grid”, state-owned power company KenGen said.

Currently, only 32% of the country’s population has access to power, which the government plans to increase to 70% within five years.

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.