NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 5 – Kenya is set to form a special purpose vehicle to facilitate the building of a nuclear power plant set for 2027.
Kenya Nuclear Energy Board Chief Executive Collins Juma says the special unit – which will be independent of the Board – will be instrumental in sourcing for funding of the plant that is expected to cost 5 billion dollars.
He says the purpose vehicle will determine if the country will get financial and development institutions to fund or whether find a vendor who will build, own, operate and later transfer to the government subject to terms and conditions of the deal.
The Board is currently identifying possible sites of where the plant will be set up.
“Site screening activities takes a long time. It’s not something that can be done in six months or one year, and such detailed analysis takes almost three years. In the next two years we will pinpoint where the plant will be put up,” he said.
The plant will most likely be close to a water body due to the significant amount of water needed in the cooling process.
Kenya plans to build a 1000Megawatts (MW) nuclear power plant aimed at increasing power capacity that is currently at 1700MW and is projected that the country will need 16, 000MW of electricity by 2030.
The plant is expected to create about 5000 new jobs throughout its construction.
The country plans to buy low enriched uranium fuel from international suppliers and supply of spare parts will be done by the vendor operating the nuclear plant.
Nuclear power is considered environmentally friendly being among the lowest carbon dioxide emitters when emissions throughout the entire life cycle are considered.
Currently, there are about 483 nuclear power reactors in operation worldwide with a total installed capacity of 374,000 MW and 71 nuclear power reactors under construction.
Some of other countries in Africa building nuclear power plants include Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Tunisia, Uganda and Tanzania.
A nuclear power plant splits uranium atoms inside a reactor in a process called Fission.
Heat generated from fission is used to produce steam which in turn drives a turbine connected to a generator. This is the process that generates electricity.