IAEA sees 'significant progress' in Kenya's research reactor preparations

11 January 2024

Kenya is pursuing the development of the country's first research reactor, a stepping stone towards a future nuclear power programme, and invited an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission to review the development of its national nuclear infrastructure.

Andrey Sitnikov, who led the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review for Research Reactors Mission and is the technical lead of the IAEA Research Reactor Section, said: "Kenya has demonstrated a sustained and very professional approach to the development of its research reactor programme. We noted that before making the final decision, Kenya did a great job of developing and preparing laws and regulatory documents, actively involving interested stakeholders in the programme, and developing human resources of both the future operator and the regulator."

The eight-member mission team, from India and the USA and six IAEA staff members, conducted the nine-day mission in December, reviewing the status of the country's nuclear infrastructure development against the Phase 1 criteria from the IAEA's Milestones Approach, which provides guidance for the preparation of a research reactor project on 19 issues ranging from nuclear safety and waste managements to financing.

The mission team provide recommendations and suggestions for the further development of nuclear infrastructure. Kenya plans to commission its first research reactor in the early 2030s. In September 2023 the Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (NuPEA) announced a potential project for a 1000 MWe nuclear plant located in either Kilifi or Kwale.

NuPEA said that following receipt of the mission team's report an Integrated Action Plan would be developed to address the recommendations and suggestions made. It added that the mission "underscores Kenya’s unwavering commitment to transparency and cooperation in advancing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. The insights gained from this review will propel the country toward achieving Kenya’s goals of harnessing the potential of nuclear energy safely and responsibly."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News