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Olkaria Geothermal plant/FILE

Kenya

Explain nuclear project to Kenyans – MPs

Olkaria Geothermal plant/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – The Nuclear Energy Commission should make its findings known in a bid for the Parliamentary Committee on Energy to help sensitise Kenyans on nuclear energy.

Speaking while inspecting the first of 14 wellheads in Olkaria on Monday, committee chairman James Rege said the findings have not been released and should be done with haste if the country is to set up nuclear energy by 2030.

“We need to tell Kenyans what kind of energy they are going to have. Kenyans don’t want to be surprised with a nuclear power plant that springs up one moment and they say they were not consulted on anything. We want to know how much power they are expecting and what they have uncovered thus far, that is why we are saying they should share their information with us,” he said.

Rege further added that Kenya Electricity Generating Company’s (KenGen) mandate should be expanded to allow it to carry out more in the energy sector without having to consult with the government on issues that may end up being politicised.

“The Ministry of Energy must give the mandate for every parastatal to do its job. KenGen is mandated to only generate energy. They should be in charge of setting up lines around the country to help maintain that we have constant supply of electricity in our houses,” he added.

Also, the company has installed two drilling rigs that can go as far as 3,000 metres and have a potential of supplying the country with up to 25 megawatts (MW) a year.

Managing Director Eddy Njoroge said the rigs were delivered to the company last year at a total cost of Sh67.2 billion.

“We bought the drillings rigs last year. The drills can easily drill up to 7,000 metres, but the steam that we need for geothermal energy is only at 3,000 metres so we drill to where we need it. Every drilling rig takes two months to drill one well, so it can only do five wells in a year. If every well is giving you 5 MW’s, it means that you can only get 25 MW’s in a year,” Njoroge said.

Njoroge also spoke when the MPs’ committee went to the companies Olkaria plant to inspect the well heads project whose tender has been under scrutiny.

After the inspection, Rege said the project was on course and was in line with Vision 2030.

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“In the past the project had engineering problems with the prototype collapsing, but it was replaced as stipulated in the contract. The one that has just been installed is working at optimum capacity. This is what the country needs in the geo- thermal energy generation and this is the technology that will help us achieve Vision 2030,” Rege added.

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