"Kenya has given thorough consideration to the infrastructure that will be necessary should the country decide to proceed with the development of a national nuclear power programme," said Jose Bastos, leader of a 10-member International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) at the end of an eight-day visit. The team also made recommendations and suggestions to help the country as it further develops its nuclear infrastructure.
Kenya's National Economic and Social Council recommended in 2010 that Kenya should start using nuclear power by 2020 to meet its growing electricity demand, and the same year the Kenyan Ministry of Energy established a nuclear electricity project committee. This subsequently became the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB), mandated with fast-tracking the development of nuclear electricity generation in Kenya with a mission to promote "safe and secure application of nuclear technology" for sustainable electricity generation and distribution.
Earlier this year IAEA director general Yukiya Amano said supporting Africa was a high priority and INIR missions form part of that support. The INIR team highlighted Kenya's progress in capacity building and stakeholder involvement, and in reviewing infrastructure requirements in a comprehensive manner. Areas for further action identified by the mission include establishing the key goals and requirements to guide the nuclear power programme, and setting up the necessary legal and regulatory framework.
KNEB CEO Ochilo Ayacko welcomed the team's findings. "This gives us the impetus to proceed to the next stages and gives the government a good framework of the actions and issues requiring further development," he said.
Energy and petroleum principal secretary Joseph Njoroge reiterated Kenya's commitment to launching a nuclear programme during the team's visit.
"Our energy demand in the next decade will be close to 50,000MWe. Our base sources such as geothermal, which is the base load, can only give us about 20,000MWe, we have almost exhausted the entire hydro potential and that means we have to diversify. Developed nations all have nuclear energy as a key source."
In February 2014, Kenya's government confirmed proposals for public-private financing to launch a nuclear energy programme with outline plans for the first of four 1000MWe reactors to enter service by 2022. Later that year, Ayacko said the USA and South Korea had offered "capacity building assistance" for development of a civil nuclear power programme. Under Kenya's Vision 2030 blueprint, KNEB will be transformed into a 'Nuclear Electricity Corporation', charged with "fast-tracking development of nuclear electricity generation in order to enhance the production of affordable and reliable electricity".