NA Energy Committee assures Thika residents of safety in the sh. 500 billion nuclear energy plant.

FILE PHOTO
The Committee on Energy, Radiation Protection Board (RPB) in the National Assembly and Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (NuPEA) on Wednesday held public hearing in Thika to collect the people’s input on a bill to develop a Nuclear Power Programme for electricity generation in Kenya.

Led by their chairperson, Nakuru Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria, the committee said that the Nuclear Regulatory Bill, 2018 sought to provide for comprehensive regulatory framework for radiation and nuclear safety, nuclear security and safeguard to control radiation sources, nuclear materials and associated waste.

Gikaria said that one major objective of the forum was to increase public awareness about nuclear energy and ultimately gaining public acceptance for the generation of nuclear electricity in Kenya.

“We want people to understand some key aspects of nuclear power development and clear the myths where people associated nuclear to explosives and something that could bring calamity. The future of energy is in nuclear and time has come for Kenya to go nuclear if we need to generate more employment opportunities,” he said.

The leaders focused on the overview of the Nuclear Power Programme, economic gains that would be realised, socio-economic development and improved infrastructure. Demystification of nuclear power disasters, nuclear energy technologies, challenges and opportunities that come with putting up the plant such as establishment of a regulatory framework, were among the other issues highlighted.

The plenary heard that Kenya intends to build a 1000MW nuclear power plant aimed at increasing power capacity that is currently at 2,300MW to bridge the deficit gap of the projected 16,000MW.

The sh. 500 billion plant, whose construction is set to be completed by 2027, will be put up either along Lake Victoria, Lake Turkana or along the Coast, to take advantage of marine waters.

Radiation Protection Board CEO, Joseph Maina, allayed fears concerning the safety, security and disposal of waste from nuclear energy by pointing out that Kenya had a nuclear safeguard where nuclear material must be accounted for atom by atom to make sure no diversion for unintended purposes.

“Kenya has made great strides in enhancing the legal framework and approach through necessary regulatory structures to ensure nuclear systems, security and safeguards including the management of radioactive wastes and spent fuel is adhered to, he said.

Among those who participated in the forum included MPs Muturi Kigano (Kangema), Elisha Ochieng Odhiambo (Gem), Faith Wairimu Gitau (Nyandarua Women Representative), Abdikhaim Osman (Fafi) and Joseph Manje (Kajiado North).

Others were James Lomenen (Turkana South), Vincent Musyoka Kawaya (Mwala) and Ken Chonga (Kilifi South).

Thika Town MP who was at the time held up at Parliament with the Trade and Industry Committee, was represented by his Personal Assistant John Mwangi Njuguna.

The forum was attended by various stakeholders who included members of the Thika District Business Association and various community and social organisations.
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