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Government confident on Nuclear power plans

24 February 2014, 18:22 Millicent Kawii

Nairobi - The government wants an attempt to stop the building of a nuclear power plant plans to be thrown out by the industrial court.

The Energy ministry told the court Monday that a case filed by a researcher seeking the Nuclear Electricity Project Committee to suspend an on-going feasibility study of nuclear energy production be dismissed.

The ministry also argued that the suit is based on falsehoods, misrepresentation of facts and the fact that Dr Joseph Kitur who sued the government seemed to have lost interest in the matter.

“This case is wastage of time and is supported by false hoods and misrepresented facts, Dr Kitur or his lawyer have both failed to appear thrice in court, they have not shown any interest,” said the energy ministry.

According to the ministry, there was a misunderstanding about the Nuclear Electricity Project Committee set up after the defunct Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board meant to spearhead the initiative that sought to find an alternate electricity energy source due to high costs of power.

The ministry denied allegations that the project is not properly informed and would unnecessarily incur a burden to tax payers as the project is necessary considering the rapidly increasing cost of electricity for industrial, commercial and household use.

The ministry said what had kicked off was a mere pre-feasibility study meant to shed light on whether to proceed with the project or not and therefore Dr Kitur cannot purport to seek redress for a decision not yet made.

However Dr Joseph Kitur argues that the public does not understand the working scope of the committee set up to oversee the project which poses serious risks of nuclear disaster and environmental impacts of nuclear power production.

Dr Kitur argued that the project is ill timed and that the country should instead pursue clean, safe and renewable sources of energy.

The petitioner, a regional manager for Livestock Institution in Africa pointed out that the Government in 2012 was in the process of carrying out a feasibility and self-assessment study for nuclear power production in the country without fully acknowledging greater risks involved in nuclear energy.

In 2010, the Energy ministry unveiled a 13-member committee, chaired by the then Energy minister Ochillo Ayacko to drive the nuclear electricity generation agenda in the country.

The committee was mandated to identify a site to set up the nuclear power station, as well as prepare and oversee implementation of a road-map for the launch of nuclear power plant.

The ministry set aside Sh300 million to start off the nuclear electricity project.

In April 2012, a group of 11 Kenyan students began training in a South Korean nuclear graduate school.

The students were picked from various parastatals in the Ministry of Energy and undertook postgraduate studies in Nuclear Science at the Korea Electric Power Corporation training school.

The case will be mentioned on April 2.

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