The Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) has revealed that the country is building a $5 billion (Ksh540 billion) nuclear power plant in Tana River County.
This was revealed through filings with the National Environment Management Authority (Nema), showing that the plant can generate 1,000 megawatt (Mw) of power in the initial stages.
The project will be funded through private investors under a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) agreement, according to KNEB.
“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,” KNEB said in its plans.
Among the notable sponsors-to-be of the plant include China, Russia, South Korea and Slovakia.
KNEB had identified Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana basins as the most appropriate places to set up the plant, but chose Tana River arguing that it is not prone to earthquakes.
If the project sails through, Kenya will become among the few countries in Africa to have a nuclear plant after South Africa and Egypt.
Kenya’s geothermal power production is the biggest in the country at 45 per cent followed by hydropower at 28 per cent. Wind takes 13 per cent while diesel-run generators take 11 per cent according to the Economic Survey.
The project will outdo the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) as the most expensive project in the country, and KNEB has asked the government to do away with corruption which could be detrimental to its success.
“Kenya is at a risk due to the expected investment of Ksh500 billion into the Nuclear Power Plant if the current issues of run-away corruption are not curtailed, which may lead to massive public economic loss due to possible implementation delays and overruns as experienced in other mega projects in the country,” says the agency.
“The vice has the potential of exposing the country to national safety and security risks.”