East Africa’s largest economy Kenya, has disclosed details of a nuclear plant project that it said will have a maximum capacity of generating 2,712 megawatts of electricity.
Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) says Tana River County is site recommended to host the U$5billion nuclear power scheduled to take seven years of construction.
The agency said Tana River is the most preferred location since it is not prone to earthquakes. Other sites under consideration were in the Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana basins.
Nuke scientists argue that for a site to be recommended to host such a project, it should be endowed with large water masses, which are crucial in cooling nuke reactors.
The estimated cost of this nuclear plant project according to Kenyan experts is nearly half the government’s annual tax collections.
“The financing aspect of the Nuclear Power Plant is among the plans underway with a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) being the most preferred financing agreement with the concessionaire that shall come on board,” the agency says in plans submitted to the environmental watchdog.
According to local media, KNEB in a regulatory filing with the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) revealed that the plant with an initial capacity of 1,000 megawatt (Mw) plant would be constructed through a concessionaire.
The east African country has been grappling with high cost of electricity that directly affects production of goods and other services.
Kenya views nuclear power both as a long-term solution to high fuel costs — incurred during times of drought when diesel generators are used — and an effective way to cut carbon emissions from the power generating sector.
Kenya also considers that cheaper electricity for industrialists is meant to boost economic growth.
According to details, the Kenyan government has running memoranda of understanding with China, Russia, South Korea and Slovakia for capacity building for the nuclear plant.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has previously talked of building solar and wind energy facilities in the coming three years to increase power generation from 2,712 megawatts.