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Kenya nuclear scientists commence training

25 April 2013, 10:23 Alfred Nganga

Nairobi - Kenya’s efforts to boost its electricity generation capacity to over 19,000 MW by the year 2030 have received a major boost with eleven local budding nuclear scientists now off to Korea for training.

As part of the master plan to increase Kenya’s installed electricity capacity over the next two decades, Kenya has dispatched a team of scientists to undertake postgraduate studies in Nuclear Science at the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) training school.

According to Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat, Director General, Mugo Kibati, a team of 11 Kenyan Nuclear scientists are, now enrolled at the prestigious KEPCO International Nuclear Graduate School (KINGS).

At the KINGS training complex, the students will undertake studies in various Nuclear Power Production (NPP) disciplines as part of a bilateral co-operation agreement between Kenya and Korea.

Kibati says that in tandem with the training programs, Kenya’s plan to engage in nuclear electricity Production is well on course under the direction of the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board.

The eleven postgraduate students enrolled this year, Kibati disclosed, will pursue a comprehensive two-year Masters Degree programme in Nuclear Engineering.

Upon graduation, the Nuclear Scientists will play a key role in laying the groundwork for Kenya’s nuclear electricity generation plans over the next two decades as envisaged in the Vision 2030 National Development policy.

Besides the 2013 class comprising of eleven students, a further six students drawn from the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board, Kenya Power and Lighting Company and Kenya’s Radiation Protection Board admitted last year are now concluding their two year Masters Studies in power generation, power transmission, and radiation safety.

“As part of the wider effort to enhance and diversify our electricity generation capacity, Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat is encouraged that a team of Kenyans students are now taking their Nuclear Science studies in Korea,” Kibati said.

He added: “Over the past few years, Kenya has been sending a number of students to study at the prestigious KINGS school in Korea which will ultimately enable us to design and build a nuclear power plant by the year 2022.”

The integration of a nuclear electricity generation plant in Kenya is part of continental effort by more than 12 African governments to facilitate the diversification of power generation.

The KEPCO International Nuclear Graduate School (KINGS) is an educational institute established to cultivate leadership-level professionals in planning, design, construction, operation and management of nuclear power plants (NPPs).

The training programs, curriculum and teaching methods adopted at KINGS are, uniquely and innovatively designed to educate and train international nuclear professionals who will contribute to enhance nuclear safety and technology.

KINGS aims to be a worldwide provider of the qualified Nuclear Power Production (NPP) professionals through new study programs, which include learning lifecycle issues, and associated technologies of NPP and hands-on experience at Kori NPP complex located at the southern seashore of the Korean peninsula.

The partnership with Korea is just one of the initiatives embraced by the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB).

Locally, 28 students sponsored by KNEB are currently undertaking Master of Science in Nuclear Science degree course at the University of Nairobi’s Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology.

KNEB Executive Chairman Hon. Ochilo Ayacko says that it is within the mandate of the organisation to build the capacity and human resource skills of Kenyans in this specialized field.

“We are using local and international resources to enable Kenyans to be trained to an adequate level of competency to run all aspects of the Nuclear Power Programme.”

Ayacko says that a nuclear power programme has three key facets: a Nuclear Electricity Programme Implementing Organisation (NEPIO) - which is the role KNEB is performing, a regulator who will ensure application of nuclear technology is done safely with safeguards for human life and property. The third arm is the operator, which is the body that will run the nuclear power plant.

“All these organisations require highly skilled manpower, conscious of safety, security and safeguards requirements as per the International Atomic Energy Agency’s guidelines,” Ayacko said.

The net benefit of the increased power generation capacity will be a more competitive country, which is able to attract foreign investors, stimulate growth of the manufacturing sector, ensure energy security and ultimately the achievement of the Vision 2030 flagship projects.

- News24

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