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Kenya Allocates $83 Million for Inaugural Nuclear Reactor

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Kenya Allocates $83 Million for Inaugural Nuclear Reactor

Kenya will require at least Ksh11 billion (about $83 million) as the initial cost of developing the country’s first nuclear research reactor in what is expected to be the stepping stone towards future nuclear power production.

Research reactors are nuclear reactors used for research, education and training.

Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (NuPEA), the State agency leading the country’s nuclear power programme, says it will request the amount from Treasury in two tranches to help in meeting 40 percent of the initial costs of the Kenya nuclear research reactor project.

NuPEA will require Ksh3 billion ($22.6 million) in 2026 and Ksh8 billion ($60.6 million) in 2027 for the project, which it says will accelerate economic development. The agency says in the recently launched 2023-2027 strategic plan that the reactor will have wide applications in education and training, health, industry, energy, and research.

“The main utilisations envisaged include: enhancing national research and development capabilities and intergovernmental collaborations; improving and encouraging industrial competitiveness; enhancing material structure study for various applications; quality in material design and manufacturing; production of radioisotopes for medical and industrial applications; improving calibration and testing services for industrial and medical instruments; and education and training of students and staff of various institutions,” said NuPEA.

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This will be the single largest project for NuPEA, which requires Ksh32.5 billion ($246 million) to implement its five-year plan. It says it has already secured 65 acres at Konza Technopolis for the construction of the nuclear research reactor and other nuclear research centre facilities.

The development comes after Kenya in December hosted a team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for a nine-day mission to review the preparations for a research reactor programme in Kenya.

The IAEA review mission concluded that the country has made “significant progress” in the development of the national nuclear infrastructure for the country’s new research reactor programme.

Kenya plans to commission its first research reactor between 2030 and 2034 and, therefore, hopes to start the work in 2026. NuPEA in September last year announced a potential project for a 1,000 megawatt electrical (MWe) nuclear plant located in either Kilifi or Kwale. Megawatt electrical (MWe) is a unit of nuclear.

The plan shows it will also require Ksh4.645 billion ($35 million) for the “implementation of infrastructure issues” to support the construction of the first nuclear power project. Included in this figure is the Ksh2.9 billion ($22 million) that the agency intends to spend on acquiring 400 acres of land for the plant by the end of next year.

The agency says the construction of the nuclear power plant will employ up to 7,000 workers at peak construction and up to 700 staff during operation.

“The utilisation of the nuclear power plant for electricity generation in place of thermal power plants will aid in increasing foreign exchange earnings through savings from reduced importation of petroleum,” adds NuPEA.

NuPEA chief executive officer Justus Wabuyabo said in September last year the agency has advanced plans to float international tenders for the construction of the in either Kilifi or Kwale counties.

Source: Theeastafrican.co.ke

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