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Residents express safety concerns over nuclear plant

Thika  residents have expressed safety fears over the planned establishment of nuclear energy generating plants and  called for its abandonment.

During  a  Public Participation  Forum on the Nuclear Regulatory Bill  in Thika town on Wednesday, they said the nuclear plant could be a target for terrorists and its effects could be detrimental.

They  said the plant  was not a priority and the Sh.500 Billion proposed for its establishment should be directed towards  addressing pressing challenges that affect the common mwananchi.

The  Thika Chairman of the Business Community, Alfred  Wanyoike  said the country should first exhaust the many sources  of  energy it has before trying nuclear.

He  said demand for energy was low and wondered where the extra 1000MWs expected to be generated from one of such plants  will be sold to.

Wanyoike  wondered  why  the  country  was in a hurry to partake nuclear energy  yet other developed countries were  abandoning it.

“How sure are we that after completion, power cost will go down? Given the rate of corruption in the country, this may be another cash cow which may not help the common man. This idea should be dropped given the cost implications,’’ he said.

James  Maina, an entrepreneur  called on the government to direct the funds towards improving other sources of power at their disposal.

He wondered how radio-active wastes from the plant would be dumped, saying it may cause health risks and even affect the safety of underground water.

“We have our reservations on this plant. Countries that have adopted Nuclear energy have been associated with wars or insecurity and as a country, we are not ready for this. Let’s first exhaust hydro, wind, geothermal and coal energy before transiting to nuclear,” said Maina.

The  Parliamentary Energy Committee Chair and also the Nakuru town East MP, David Gikaria assured residents that the project is viable and would help the country in accelerating manufacturing and industrialisation sectors.

He said the project would not only reduce the cost of production but will also create jobs.

The  forum  was attended by MPs, James Lomenen (Turkana South) Vincent Musyoka (Mwala), Muturi Kigano (Kangema) Faith Wairimu (Nyandarua), Jospeh Manje (Kajiado North) and Ocheing Odhiambo (Gem) among others.

The  MPs called on the residents to support the bill, saying establishment of a nuclear plant would increase the power  grid, reduce cost of power and accelerate development.

By  Muoki  Charles

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