MPs, Energy officials disagree over nuclear energy
29 August 2015, 08:22
Nairobi – A parliamentary committee disagreed with the Energy ministry officials’ position on Kenya’s capacity and readiness to generate nuclear energy.
The National Assembly’s committee on Implementation of House Resolutions chaired by Soipan Tuya (Narok County MP) maintained that the government should shift its attention from the costly and disastrous nuclear energy generation plan to renewable energy.
The Acting Energy Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich and other ministry officials who appeared before the committee had argued that the country’s energy demand projected to increase significantly to 21620MW for use in development projects and electrification levels.
Rotich added that nuclear energy was clean power of greenhouse gas emissions, safe, competitive in generation and stable as the country strives to become a middle income economy through industrialization and realization of the anticipated Vision 2030.
However, the MPs dismissed the ministry’s stand on grounds that the country lacked adequate nuclear energy production experts and financial resources therefore asked the government to focus on less costly green energy adopted by most developing countries such as Brazil.
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Emuhaya MP, Wilber Ottichilo, who is also an Environmental Science expert warned that Kenya risks facing the challenge of nuclear energy waste disposal most developing nations such as Japan, Germany and Australia are going through due to the products’ long lifespan of decomposition.
Lifespan of one nuclear reactor is estimated to be 50 years.
“To develop one nuclear reactor, Kenya requires a capital of KES 900 billion, technical expertise, a less populated area with abundance of fresh water and a capacity to dispose nuclear waste safely,” said Ottichilo.
He asked that committee to move with speed to ensure the government consults widely before rushing to invest in the nuclear energy without considering the impending environmental and health dangers.
Issack Shabaan (Lafey) also cautioned that Kenya could become a dumping ground for nuclear waste following reports that some western countries had taken advantage of Somalia’s unstable government to dump their nuclear waste.
The committee chair, Tuya promised to organize a consultative meeting between the MPs and other stakeholders in the energy sector to deliberate on the government’s nuclear energy generation move thereafter come up with a report for tabling in Parliament.
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