Kenya is set to build a $5 billion (Sh540 billion) nuclear power plant on a site in Tana River County over the next 7 years with funding from private investors.
The Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) in a regulatory filing with the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) revealed the plans stating that the plant with an initial capacity of 1,000 megawatts (Mw) plant would be constructed through a concessionaire.
The public will have a say as the KNEB plan will be subjected to public scrutiny before the environmental watchdog can approve it and start the project.
“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.
The agency said Tana River is the most preferred location since it is safe to earthquakes compared to other sites that were under consideration like the Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana basins.
The proposed sites have to have a lot of water which is crucial in cooling nuke reactors.
If the plans succeed, Kenya would be the second country in Africa with a nuclear plant. At the moment South Africa is the only country in Africa with a nuclear power plant near Cape Town.
However, corruption threatens the plans. “Kenya is at a risk due to the expected investment of Sh500 billion ($5 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.”
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