Josephine Sinyo made the case for nuclear electricity on behalf of the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board KNEB at the 2017 Women in Energy Awards and Conference. KNEB describes nuclear electricity as reliable, affordable, dependable, sustainable and clean. As a promoter of nuclear electricity KNEB advocates for nuclear power plants which are specific for electricity. Nuclear electricity began as a government project in 2011 and is envisioned in Vision 2030, Medium Term Plans II and III as a means to attain 5,000 MW of power in the grid. KNEB believes contributions by nuclear electricity will allow for sufficient electricity for the manufacturing industry and general use.
The Government plans to enlarge the grid such that every household, every, industry and infrastructure in the country has reliable electricity. KNEB is confident that contributions from nuclear electricity will bring these plans to fruition thus improving the standard of living and allowing women access to low-priced Kenya-produced energy for household use including food preparation and refrigeration.
KNEB asserts nuclear electricity is one way to mitigate energy security risk with respect to availability. As recently as 2013, Kenya had blackouts lasting 3 to 6 hours putting the entire country in a dilemma. The Government saw the need for nuclear electricity citing its consistency, given that prolonged blackouts can be exploited.
In Kenya, electricity is expensive in part because we import it from our neighbor Uganda at a high cost. KNEB considers solar power and hydroelectricity to be unreliable. Hydroelectricity is subject to the environment and nature. Occasionally, there is hydro power rationing due to low water levels or other challenges with dams.
Currently, Kenya has neither nuclear power plant operator, regulator nor a law pertaining to operating a nuclear power plant. It is anticipated that the Energy Bill will legislate nuclear electricity. KNEB expects the Energy Bill to name Radiation Protection Board, which currently supervises radiation matters from hospital and agricultural use, as the nuclear electricity regulator with KNEB as the stand-alone institution promoting nuclear electricity. KNEB will ratify international treaties covering nuclear safety, nuclear security and civil liability, rather than use of traditional regulations.
Nuclear electricity is a regime that is very closely monitored. The fear of terrorism with respect to nuclear power plants is covered in international treaties and conventions for small nuclear gadgets as well as large scale facilities, which Kenya will domesticate and apply.
Given the nature of a nuclear plant, there are specific areas in the country where a nuclear power plant can be situated which is dependent on mandatory feasibility studies, which are currently underway. KNEB envisions that the first nuclear plant will be operational in Kenya in 2027.