Kenya is set to build a $5 billion (Sh540 billion) nuclear power plant on a site in Tana River County over the next seven years with funding from private investors.

The Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) in a regulatory filing with the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) revealed that the plant with an initial capacity of 1,000 megawatts (Mw) plant would be constructed through a concessionaire.

The government looks to expand the plant’s capacity fourfold by 2035 under a build, operate and transfer (BOT) model.

Kenya views nuclear power both as a long-term solution to high fuel costs — incurred during times of drought when diesel generators are used — and an effective way to cut carbon emissions from the power generating sector.

KNEB said private funding for the nuclear plant would ease the burden on Kenya’s strained public coffers. The estimated cost of the nuclear plant is nearly half the government’s annual tax collections.

The agency said Tana River is the most preferred location since it is not prone to earthquakes. Other sites under consideration were in the Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana basins.

The proposed sites are endowed with large water masses, which are crucial in cooling nuke reactors.

The project would involve the building of a ‘third-generation’ plant with pressurized water reactors. Nuclear reactors require reliable sources of water for steam condensation, service water, emergency core cooling system and other functions.

South Africa is the only country in Africa with a nuclear power plant near Cape Town.

Source: Business Daily

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