An environmental conservation lobby group has advised the country to go slow on investing in nuclear energy owing to the numerous high risk challenges associated with its production.
The Greenpeace Africa’s Political Adviser, Fredrick Njehu says the country can still attain its energy goals without necessarily having to set up a nuclear power production plant.
In particular, he faulted the recent decision by the Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (NuPEA) which saw China National Nuclear Corporation awarded a contract to determine the most suitable location to construct a nuclear power plant in the country within the next eight to 10 years.
“Nuclear power plants pose substantial risk of accidents. Globally, the nuclear power industry is in the decline. It is a surprise that Kenya is considering energy production technologies such as nuclear power that have been overtaken by the expansion of renewable energy technologies such as wind, geothermal and solar,” said Njehu in a press statement.
The Indian Ocean, Lake Victoria, and Lake Turkana have already been identified as top contenders for hosting Kenya’s first nuclear power plant.
But Greenpeace Africa says it’s opposed to nuclear power generation both onshore and offshore, saying the risks linked to its production are too high including challenges in disposal of its end wastes which are radioactive.
Njehu says the country should instead direct its emphasis on other renewable energy sources such as wind power which are not only cheaper but environmental friendly.
He has lauded President Uhuru Kenyatta for launching the largest single wind power plant at the Loiyangalani in Marsabit County on Friday last week.
“Greenpeace Africa is calling on the government of Kenya to move away from coal and nuclear energy ambitions to clean and sustainable renewable energy options. Renewable energy options provide Kenya with many opportunities to fight climate change, meet the energy demands for economic, environmental and social prosperity. This will enable the country to achieve real energy independence and security without running the risk of degrading the environment and creating complex health issues for the people of Kenya,” he added.
Last week President Kenyatta officially opened the $680 million Lake Turkana Wind Power Plant (LWPT) which has a capacity to harness a total of 310 megawatts of renewable energy to the national grid, making it one of the largest wind power farm in Africa.
The sprawling 365 –turbine wind farm with a capacity of 850 kilo-volts each is located on the eastern shores of Lake Turkana is also the largest private investment in Kenya’s history.
The plant is expected to inject about 17 per cent electricity to the national grid and comes as a big relief to consumers as it will greatly reduce the cost of electricity.
Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organization that seeks to change attitudes and behavior, to protect and conserve the environment besides promoting enduring peace.
The organization was launched in 1971 when a group of concerned citizens were outraged by the United States government’s insistence on nuclear testing on the Alaskan island of Amchitka.
The organization operates in 40 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Pacific and Africa.
By Samuel Maina