The Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (NuPEA) in parternship with the Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK), hosted a Consumers Dialogue Forum on June 6th, 2022 at the Hotel Titanic, Kilifi County.
The objective of the forum was to: Communicate to the stakeholders the status of Kenya’s Nuclear Power Programme;; Nuclear technology benefits, challenges and mitigation measures; Achievements to date and future plans; and to offer an opportunity to the participants to present their perspectives. It attracted various stakeholders from the industry, civil society, academia, media, women and youth groups.
Speaking during the Dialogue, NuPEA’s Director for Strategy and Planning, Dr. Winfred Ndubai stated that the Nuclear Power Programme will provide great benefits to the Country, Kilifi County and the local community. She urged all stakeholders to work together to achieve the common goal of implementing the first nuclear power plant in Kilifi County.
Dr. Ndubai gave assurance that the Kenya government is in the process of reviewing and signing legal and regulatory commitments in line with international requirements.
At the Dialogue Forum, Nuclear Safety was explained as the achievement of proper operating conditions, prevention of accidents or mitigation of accident consequences, resulting in protection of workers, the public and the environment form undue radiation hazards. Participants were assured that Kenya fully recognizes and is committed to establishing a robust national nuclear safety infrastructure and commitment to the Global Nuclear Safety Regime.
Eng. Eric Ohaga, Director for Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Development (NEID) at NuPEA and the President of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya (IEK), explained to the participants the different steps taken to introduce a new nuclear power programme in a country such as KEnya. These steps show international obligations required and recommended by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and best practices from countries implementing nuclear programmes. “Kenya’s economic prospects will thrive as soon as the plant is completed.” He stated.
Cofek Vice Chairman, Mr. Benjamin Langwen, urged NuPEA to engage with its stakeholders continuously and involve the counties in its outreach programmes. He thanked NuPEA for its continued support and looked forward to more opportunities between Cofek and the Agency.
Mr. Wilfred Baya, Ass. Director for Energy at the Kilifi County Government, mentioned that Nuclear Power Investments have great economic impacts hence there is need for closer co-ordination between the two arms of government and deeper stakeholders engagements on the various aspects relating to nuclear investments.
The Role of the Academia in the Rollout of a Nuclear Power Programme was also captured at the forum. Dr. Fanuel Mugwangá, from the Physics department at Pwani University, stated that NuPEA should impact on content, the definition of programmes and fields of research for both undergraduates, post-graduates at higher education institutions and number of research projects supported inn these institutions. He added that NuPEA and the academia should collaborate in reviewing current curriculum to include the new technology and methodology of running it.
Continuous stakeholder engagement is critical in the programme to boost understanding, acceptance and enhance confidence through open dialogue. NuPEA has a robust public information, awareness and education program that serves to explain nuclear technology applications, benefits and misconceptions about nuclear electricity generation to all its stakeholders.