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UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has decided to help African nations with the development of nuclear energy for electricity generation
Several African countries have expressed interest in the peaceful development of nuclear power, according to IAEA senior advisor for policy and strategy Anne Starz, on a visit to Nairobi. During the inauguration of IAEA’s Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Mission of Kenya’s Nuclear Electricity Programme, Starz added that technical assistance along with bilateral cooperation between interested African nations would be encouraged by the IAEA.
According to Starz, nuclear energy is an “obvious attraction” for African countries that are keen to develop reliable sources of power to enhance their growth prospects. Currently, South Africa is the only African nation operating a nuclear power plant. Additionally, Morocco has expressed interest to use nuclear power, while Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt have already taken the decision to use nuclear energy, revealed Starz.
However, developing nuclear energy is a long-term plan and requires a commitment that lasts atleast a 100 years, stated the IAEA. While the UN nuclear agency will advise African states on the international standards and best practice, national regulators will have to oversee the individual country’s nuclear power programmes.
Specifically, Kenya’s plan to develop nuclear energy is on track. As part of the mission, a team of 11 international nuclear energy experts from IAEA are set to review Kenya’s progress towards including nuclear energy into its energy mix. The energy agency is expected to conduct a one-week study of Kenya’s nuclear programme and consequently, deliver a report in three months.
The Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) executive chairman Ochilo Ayacko said that the development of nuclear power involves three phases. The East African nation has concludes pre-feasibility studies and self-evaluation, and is about to complete the first phase. Ayacko added, “We anticipate the first power plant to be operational in 2023.”
The country would require close to 50,000MW of power, against the current generation of 2,200MW said Kenyan principal secretary for energy and petroleum Joseph Njoroge.