• Kenya has signed two separate deals with two countries on nuclear energy in a race to build its first nuclear power plant of 1,000 megawatts (MW) by 2025.

    The new development is expected to increase to 4,000MW by 2033, adding to the country’s energy mix which is projected to be about 19,000MW in total.

    Currently, Kenya has a capacity of 2,298MW of energy from hydro, geo thermal and thermal sources.

    Last week, the East African nation signed nuclear energy cooperation with Russia and South Korea.

    The Russian deal will involve the creation of a working group to identify peaceful nuclear projects and also continue consultations on the possibility of building the first nuclear power plant in Kenya. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed on May 30, by Russia’s state nuclear agency, Rosatom Deputy Director Nikolai Spasskiy and Deputy Head of the Kenyan Embassy to Russia Hillary N. Kyengo.

    The Korean deal was signed by Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter and Korean Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Joo Hyunghwan. The signing of the MoU was witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his South Korean Counterpart President Park Geun-Hye after the two leaders held bilateral talks in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

    “By signing this MOU, Kenya is set to benefit from Korea’s expertise in power generation. Korea has a unique model of power development that has ensured a stable supply of electricity through continuous constructions and safe operations of power plants,” President Kenyatta said in a statement.

    Kenya expressed its plan to venture into electricity powered by nuclear energy last September when it signed a with China to enable it (Kenya) obtain “obtain expertise” from the Asian giant “by way of training and skills development, technical support in areas such as site selection for Kenya’s nuclear power plants and feasibility studies”, Daily Nation reported.

    This has set a platform for the three nations to compete to win Kenya’s contract to construct a nuclear plant in the east Africa’s largest economy.

    Russia seems to be making headways in Africa

    Apart from Kenya, Rosatom says it plans to sign cooperation agreements with Uganda and Zambia in a move to expand its presence in Sub-Saharan Africa beyond its planned bid to build nuclear power plants in South Africa.

    The Russian company expressed confidence in its ability to clinch South Africa’s tender, beating China, France, and South Korea, to build 9,600 megawatts (MW) nuclear power fleet.

    “This is the first step towards closer ties with Africa and closer cooperation with a view, of course, to someday building nuclear power plants,” Victor Polikarpov, Rosatom’s regional vice-president for Sub-Saharan Africa, was quoted by Reuters as having said.

    “We want South Africa to become our springboard for the rest of Africa. We want to create a nuclear cluster, a group of companies here that can operate with us in Africa.”

    In addition to the power deal, Kenya also signed a number of development contracts which entail the sharing of policies and technologies in the fields of science and technology between the two countries.

    These pacts will also involve carrying out exchanges between research and development institutes in Kenya and South Korea, as well as exchange human resources through education and training programs.

    The partnership will also promote partnerships between Kenya and Korea on the development of smart city solutions.


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