Will nuclear energy ease Kenya’s power shortages?

Kenya is moving towards nuclear energy and the country is certain that in 20 years it will be producing the much needed power.

Joel Kamande, the secretary and chief radiation protection officer in Kenya, told CNBC Africa that the nuclear power programme was a journey of a thousand miles. He added the country needed to take the right steps towards nuclear energy alternative.

“In the next 15 years or so we will be able to realise our first nuclear power plant if everything goes well,” said Kamande.

Buttressing the importance of energy, Kamande said that the life expectancy of a country was pegged on how much energy a country produced for its citizens.

“If there was a way for Kenya to produce cost effective and affordable energy, that cents per kilowatt would be affordable, that would be the way to go,” he said.

Kamande said Kenya, a signatory of the International Atomic Energy Agency, must abide by the required steps the body has stipulated.

“As a signatory to the International Atomic Agency, there are milestones that the energy agency has put together which we should follow through. There are 19 steps that a country has to follow through,” explained Kamande.

He also urged the country to invest in its human resources.

“We need to train a lot of people in various disciplines and not only nuclear engineers as engineers only form 20 per cent of the whole pie of nuclear workforce.”

Is Kenya ready for nuclear power generation?

The international atomic energy agency has announced that Kenya has made significant progress towards introducing nuclear energy.

Kamande said that Kenya will require safety engineers, safety officers, environmentalists, security officers and technicians as part of the required human resources.

He added that Kenya has been preparing for nuclear power for a while.

“We have made many strides and we have good infrastructure. Since 1996 Kenya has had radiation protection infrastructure and this has grown to include nuclear safety and nuclear security and safeguards.”

Kamande said the East African country needed to review its regulations and involve other disciplines.