Kenya to host second US-African nuclear summit

Kenya will in August host the second nuclear forum between the US and Africa as the country gears up to join the league of nations generating part of their electricity from nuclear power.

The forum will attract top officials from the US nuclear energy sector to offer more insights on the technology besides pursuing possible engagement agreements as more African countries seek to pursue power generation from nuclear plants.

Kenya plans to set up a nuclear power plant and has already picked Kilifi, at the Coast, as the preferred host of the maiden nuclear power plant with the alternative being the neighbouring Kwale.

The Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (Nupea)— the agency in charge of the technology— is currently engaging residents of Kilifi County in a bid to create awareness in a bid to pave the way for the construction of a power plant in the county.

“Kenya will use this forum to make a big pronouncement on what we want to do with the nuclear power programme,” Justus Wabuyabo, the Chief Executive Officer of Nupea told this publication on Monday.

“Because this falls into something we call political commitment where the top -leadership will give comfort to technology providers dealing with nuclear technology.”

South Africa is the only African country currently generating electricity from a nuclear power plant. Egypt is also setting up plants with a capacity of 4,400 mega watt energy (MWe). Kenya and Ghana are racing to build nuclear power plants.

Kenya has set an ambitious target of commencing the construction of a nuclear power plant in 2027 and commissioning it by 2034.

But a raft of hurdles are facing Kenya’s plan for the plant notably, awareness and acceptance of the project by Kenyans in Kilifi and source of funding for the plant.

The summit offers the US a chance to deepen involvement in African countries keen to set up nuclear power plants.

About 18 percent of the electricity used in the US is generated from nuclear power plants, making it one of the leading users of the technology to run the economy.

Andrew Worral, the director of Nuclear Energy Programs at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and DeLeah Lockridge, the Group leader for the Nuclear Operations and Licensing at the firm, are some of the key speakers set to address the forum.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is an agency in the US Department of Energy Science and Energy Laboratory and is tasked with, among others, undertaking research and giving policy insights on nuclear energy.