11 August 2009 – Construction sites for Kenya’s nuclear power plant – the first on the continent outside South Africa – has been identified.
One site has been identified near the Kenyan coast and construction is scheduled to begin once an ongoing environmental study has been completed according to Rolex Kirui, a senior engineer for the Kenyan government. He says that a second potential site has been identified in western Kenya, bordering Lake Victoria.
Kenya’s energy minister, Kiraitu Murungi, first announced plans for the plant’s construction on the 9th October 2008.
There is a shortage of 3,000 megawatts of electricity for the country. Kenya generates just 1,100 megawatts of electricity per year and its electricity production is ranked twenty-second in Africa.
South Africa is the only African nation to have a fully operational nuclear power plant. Egypt and Nigeria are in the process of planning their own plants but Kenya is the first to both identify a site and undergo an environmental study.
The project will cost an estimated 80 billion Kenyan shillings (US$1 billion). It will take at least five years before the plant is operational as extensive inspection must be carried out by authorities such as the Radiation Protection Board and the National Environmental Management Authority.
Construction could begin as early as September 2010 once a feasibility study is complete.