Kenya’s nuclear development plans have been deferred beyond the previous 2030 timeline.

The Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (NuPEA – formerly the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board) said that the lengthy compliance procedures needed to set up a nuclear power plant would only be ready in 2035.

“The nuclear power generation plan will now heavily rely on how fast the country will expand its manufacturing sector and encourage establishment of more industries capable of consuming huge levels of power,” said NuPEA CEO Collins Juma. He told Nation that the agency would also prioritise use of smaller nuclear reactors.

"We are looking into having those small reactors in phases as we monitor how the country's electricity demand grows and how the grid is prepared to take the additional energy," he said.

Juma also noted that small reactors are "cheaper and faster to implement", and that deployment could be possible in 2035 or 2036 according projections.

Kenya Power has been struggling with depressed demand for electricity; one of the factors that has been instrumental in the delay of future generation plans such as nuclear.

In August, NUPEA submitted impact studies for a commercial nuclear power plant, with construction expected to take about seven years. NuPEA said it was seeking regulatory approval for a 1000MWe unit at a cost of $5bn to be commissioned by 2027, with additional reactors increasing capacity to 4000MWe by 2035 at a cost to almost $20bn.