Kenya signs nuclear power deal with South Korea
Kenya’s plans for nuclear electricity generation by 2027 have received a boost following the signing of a partnership agreement with three top South Korean nuclear power entities.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) and the Korea Electric Power Corporation, Korea Nuclear Association for International Cooperation and the KEPCO International Graduate School was witnessed by Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter.
A statement from KNEB states that the partnership deal is expected to “enable Kenya obtain expertise from Korea by way of capacity building, specialized training and skills development, as well as technical support for its nuclear power programme.”
It pointed out that in addition, Kenya will obtain firsthand knowledge of South Korea’s nuclear power technology.
“This development comes as KNEB is gearing up for feasibility studies to identify suitable locations/potential sites for Kenya’s nuclear power plants as well as undertaking reactor technology assessment aimed at settling on the best option in terms of nuclear power plant model,” it stated.
Kenya plans to set up a first nuclear power plant with a capacity of 1000MW by 2027. This is expected to rise to a total of 4000MW by 2033 making nuclear electricity a key component of the country’s energy mix which is projected to about 20,000MW in total.
Kenya currently has an installed capacity of 2300MW. The Kenyan delegation has been on a four-day nuclear power cooperation visit to South Korea. It included a visit to Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Company and the Kori Nuclear Power Plant Complex in Busan.
“This development comes in the wake of an agreement signed between Kenya’s Ministry of Energy and Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy in May 2016 during the visit by President Park Geun-hye to Kenya,” the statement said.
That agreement facilitated the exchange of technical information, specialists as well as training opportunities for Kenyans in Korea’s vast nuclear power industry.
As part of the partnership with South Korea, sixteen Kenya students have been enrolled over the past three years at the KEPCO International Nuclear Graduate School (K-INGS) to undertake Masters degree courses in Nuclear Power Engineering.
Other than the agreement with South Korea, Kenya has previously signed nuclear power cooperation pacts with Russia, China and Slovakia.
South Korea on the other hand currently generates 20,000MW from nuclear power, which accounts for 22 per cent of its total electricity generation capacity.
Earlier this year, the International Atomic Energy Agency gave a positive review of the progress of Kenya’s nuclear power programme, while recommending that a regulatory body should be set up as soon as possible.