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Kenya Aims to Build a Nuclear Power Plant by 2017, Minister Nyoike Says

Kenya aims to build its first nuclear power plant by 2017 as it looks for less-expensive alternatives to thermals fuels such as oil and gas, Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary Patrick Nyoike said.

“We need cheap sources of electricity; the thermals are expensive,” Nyoike told reporters today in the East African nation’s capital, Nairobi.

Kenya last week appointed former Energy Minister Ochillo Ayacko to head the Nuclear Electricity Project, a plan to make Kenya an atomic-power producer, Nyoike said. Ayacko’s first task will be to convince skeptics that the country is pursuing nuclear power safely and he will also be expected to help Kenya conform to the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency standards, said Nyoike. The budget for developing nuclear energy in the fiscal year through June 2011 is 200 million shillings ($2.5 million), he said.

One proposal that is being studied is to build a 1,000- megawatt nuclear power plant, probably along the coast in a joint venture with the government and private companies. A facility of those specifications using South Korean technology would cost as much as $3.5 billion to build, said Nyoike.

Kenya Electricity Generation Co. Ltd., the country’s largest power producer, aims to almost triple installed capacity to 3,000 megawatts by 2018 and increase that to 9,000 megawatts by 2030, Managing Director Eddy Njoroge said Aug. 18

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at smcgregor5@bloomberg.net.

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