KNRA: Nuclear vital to Kenya’s industrialisation bid

Kenya Nuclear Regulatory Authority Director-General James Keter with Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis' Irene Mithia in Nairobi on February 24, 2024.

Kenya's industrialisation ambitions can potentially benefit from the safe use of nuclear technologies, experts say.

The planned construction of a nuclear power plant by 2027, they say, is a timely move as the country's electricity consumption is on the rise, with peak demand growing by an average of 3.1 per cent a year to more than 2,000 MW.

Speaking in Nairobi at the weekend, officials from the Kenya Nuclear Regulatory Authority (KNRA) said that with robust regulation, partnerships with industry leaders and continuous capacity building, Kenya will go nuclear in line with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) guidelines.

The KNRA team, led by Director General James Keter, spoke during a meeting with officials from the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) as preparations kicked off for a regional conference on the future of industrialisation.

The conference, which is being organised by KIPPRA in Kisumu from June 19-21, aims to come up with relevant policy recommendations that will fully exploit the opportunities for industrialisation as envisaged in Vision 2030 and President William Ruto's bottom-up economic policy.

Mr Keter called for a "whole of government approach" to chart the way forward for the country's economic growth and industrialisation.

"We believe that in the spirit of the 'whole of government' approach, we have a duty to deepen collaboration so that we can embrace innovation and develop viable skills for industrialisation," he said.

 "We take seriously the importance of evidence-based policy-making. We hope to sustain a conversation that will enable even 'Mama Mbogas' to understand and appreciate some of the issues," said KIPPRA Director of Corporate Services, Ms Irene Mithia.

KNRA Director of Partnerships and Public Awareness Edward Mayaka said the regulator was keen to use various fora, such as the upcoming regional conference, to discuss ways and means by which Kenya can use nuclear technology safely and securely.

 "We are ready to work with KIPPRA. We also have a duty to work with all stakeholders to ensure that nuclear holds promise in Kenya's industrialisation dreams," said Mr Mayaka.

Ms Mithia added: "Our last such conference discussed the growth of ASALs. Our choice of Kisumu to host this year's event is strategic. We look forward to the participation of national government officials as well as the lake region counties".

The KIPPRA conference aims to generate discussions on the future of the financial system in mobilising resources for industrialisation and sustainable innovative financial products for financing industrial activities.

Other areas of discussion will focus on value chain development, industrial crops, natural resources, production and use of appropriate technology, exploiting value addition opportunities in livestock and diversification into high-value products such as motor vehicles, digital and mobile devices and pharmaceuticals.