Kenya agency outlines nuclear development strategy

22 March 2024

Kenya's Nuclear Power and Energy Agency has launched a strategic plan that will guide the development of its nuclear power programme over the next five years as it prepares to build its first nuclear power plant.

The plan was unveiled on 18 March (Image: NuPEA)

The Nuclear Power and Energy Agency's (NuPEA) 2023-2027 Strategic Plan identifies six key result areas from six strategic issues: nuclear infrastructure development; stakeholder engagement and advocacy; energy research and innovation; energy capacity development; research reactor programme and institutional sustainability. It builds on the agency's 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, the successful implementation of which led to the progression of the country’s nuclear power development programme to phase II of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Milestone Approach following a review by international experts, NuPEA Chairman Ezra Odhiambo said in his Foreword to the plan.

The 2023-2027 Strategic Plan has been developed through a participatory process which included consultation with internal and external stakeholders, and takes into account Kenya's national development agenda outlined in policy documents including Kenya's Constitution, Vision 2030, Medium Term Plan IV, the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda, Kenya National Spatial Plan and Climate Change Policy Goals and Intended Nationally Determined Contribution. Situational analysis, reviews of the implementation of the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, and environmental analysis also contributed to the new plan.

NuPEA’s proposed roadmap and strategy for nuclear power infrastructure development sees the construction and commissioning of the country's first nuclear power plant by 2034, while a research reactor - KNRR - is to be commissioned by the early 2030s. The counties of Kilifi and Kwale have been identified as potential hosts for the power plant, while land has been set aside at the Konza Technopolis technology hub, 64 km south of Nairobi, for the research reactor.

NuPEA says it is aiming for the "construction and commissioning of the first nuclear power plant by 2034". The roadmap in the strategic plan suggests site preparations for the power plant beginning in 2029 with construction starting in 2030-2031.

"Today marks the beginning of yet another journey towards the development of the nuclear power programme in Kenya as Nuclear Power and Energy Agency launches its Strategic Plan 2023-2027," NuPEA said. "During this period, the Agency is committed to implement/execute the strategies to ensure the country is ready to commence the construction of the first nuclear power plant. In energy research and development and capacity building, the Agency has identified nuclear energy research, nuclear research reactor, human and institutional capacity development, establishment of an energy research center as key strategic issues for this plan period."

NuPEA estimates that it will need around KES36.2 billion (USD 273 million) to implement the initiatives set out in the plan.

Speaking during the launch event in Nairobi on 18 March, NuPEA Director for Planning and Strategy Winnie Ndubai said the vision developed by the agency also includes the coordination of research and development for the energy and petroleum sector as well as the coordination of capacity building. "Our vision is to provide sustainable, affordable and clean energy solutions, and those energy solutions will be provided not just through the nuclear power which will be a baseload and clean source of energy in our power mix, but also clean energy solutions will come through innovative research that will bring up new ideas and new techologies within the energy sector," she said.

NuPEA was established in 2019 to promote and implement Kenya's nuclear power programme, superseding the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board which was established in 2012.

The strategic plan can be downloaded here.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News