News / Africa

Kenya Pursuing Nuclear Power Despite the Risks

Kenya Pursuing Nuclear Power Despite the Risksi
X
March 27, 2014 9:00 AM
Kenya is forging ahead with plans to build a nuclear power plant by 2025 as part of an ambitious development agenda. As VOA's Gabe Joselow reports, the project is not without its doubters, who wonder whether nuclear power is safe compared to other clean energy sources.
Kenya Pursuing Nuclear Power Despite the Risks
Gabe Joselow
Kenya is forging ahead with plans to build a nuclear power plant by 2025 as part of an ambitious development agenda. However, the project is not without its doubters, who wonder whether nuclear power is safe compared to other clean energy sources.
 
Students at the University of Nairobi are training for the jobs of the future -- at what is planned to be Kenya's first nuclear power plant. 
Map highlighting African nations looking to establish or expand nuclear power capabilities.Map highlighting African nations looking to establish or expand nuclear power capabilities.
x
Map highlighting African nations looking to establish or expand nuclear power capabilities.
Map highlighting African nations looking to establish or expand nuclear power capabilities.

 
The master's program at the Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology trains 15 students annually to be technicians and engineers.
 
Institute director David Maina said increasing power generation is key to Kenya's development.
 
"The kinds of things this country is imagining they want to do requires a lot of power. And here we have only 1,600 megawatts. What can we do, if you compare that to a country like [South] Korea which has 43,000 megawatts? You see we are a tiny consumer compared to those big economies," said Maina.
 
About 69 percent of Kenyans live in homes without electricity; one nuclear power plant could provide up to 1,000 megawatts of power for those homes.
 
At a recent meeting in Nairobi, stakeholders in the nuclear project discussed its feasibility, which requires major investment in infrastructure and security.
 
Deputy President William Ruto said developing nuclear power is more than just "thinking outside the box."
 
"Kenya's stated intention of using nuclear energy for electricity generation reflects the sort of thinking which can propel a country from relative mediocrity to the realms of greatness," said Ruto.
 
Many other developed nations have turned away from nuclear power following the disaster at Japan's Fukushima plant in 2011. Germany is scheduled to close all of its nuclear plants by 2022.
 
In Kenya too, there are those who fear a nuclear plant could invite a Fukushima-type of disaster, or be a target for terrorism.
 
On the windswept hills outside of Nairobi, another power project is under construction.
 
When completed, the Ngong Hills wind farm will provide some 50 megawatts of power -- much less than a nuclear plant.
 
Moses Ole Kinaiya, with the Maasai Integrated Development Initiative, said he'd prefer to see Kenya focus on projects like this.
 
"Renewable energy I think is more safe because for examples as you see the turbines here, they've been planted, they're producing power, it doesn't have any major health risks, it doesn't have any major even security risks because you just have a guard, nobody is necessarily targeting it in terms of creating mass destruction," said Kinayia.
 
Kenya is also developing projects for geothermal energy, coal and other sources of power.
 
While nuclear power may be the most productive source, it is also the most costly. The price tag for a single plant is more than $4 billion.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: kunosoura from: Mid-america
March 28, 2014 2:46 PM
40 years of nuclear power in US, now over 100 NPPs, not a single death, nor significant injury or radiation exposure. Absolutely nothing has that public safety record. Cleanest, safest, non-polluting energy source on Earth. Fukushima was no "disaster", reactor shut down perfectly, no significant radio isotopes escaped. A modern NPP cannot explode; you can't make a N bomb from fuel rods. Of the hundreds of NPPs built and running for years, being built, there has never been a nuclear "accident" resulting in significant radiation expoure to anyone. If you don't want yourself, children to remain as backward third world country you must have energy, i.e., go to nuclear power. No one is going to drag you into modern era.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs