The Nuclear Power and Energy Agency hosted a major two-day international conference in Nairobi, Kenya between 15-16 October 2019. Dubbed Africa Nuclear Business Platform, it was the inaugural edition of what is envisioned to become an annual calendar activity linking the global nuclear energy industry with embarking African countries.
The two-day conference brought together a broad spectrum of stakeholders including delegates from various African countries considering nuclear energy for electricity generation. Other delegates were drawn from regulatory bodies, technology vendors, construction companies, law firms as well as financial solution providers.
It provided a unique opportunity for the forging of a sustainable partnership between states on the continent and major players in the field of nuclear energy. It further provided a platform to enhance appreciation of preparatory steps taken by various African countries toward nuclear power development, insights into the current status as well as a broad range of subjects including nuclear energy financing, economics and strategy.
The conference chief guest, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Dr. Eng. Joseph Njoroge emphasized Kenya’s commitment to pursue nuclear electricity generation in Kenya basing the endeavor on best international standards and practices.
“Our development agenda of making Kenya a middle income industrializing country is formulated around vision 2030.This cannot be realized without reliable, sustainable, competitively priced, affordable and clean energy. “’said Dr. Eng. Joseph Njoroge.
During the opening ceremony, a high-level panel comprising of NuPEA CEO Eng. Collins Juma, Director for Africa at the International Atomic Energy Agency Prof Abdulrazak Shaukat, , President of the Africa Young Generation in Nuclear Mr. Gaopalelwe Santswere from South Africa and distinguished Endowed Professor at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology Prof. KunMo Chung – who is also a former member of Kenya’s National Social Economic Council – fielded questions in a vibrant discussion on Africa’s nuclear power quest, economics, safety and regulatory issues, financing, human resource development as well as potential choices of technology. The panel discussion was moderated by Julians Amboko from NTV Kenya.
“Synergy is very important between countries who are trying to pursue nuclear power generation in Africa ” Eng. Collins Juma, NuPEA CEO.
“People fear not because they know, but because they don’t know about nuclear. The International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation can help in sharing the lessons learned from other countries and how they are communicating with people by bringing professionals together for firsthand accounts. This will enhance effective communicate to the public effectively,” said Gaopalelwe Santswere, President of the Africa Young Generation in Nuclear.
Other notable speakers during the event included Dr. Rita Baranwal, Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy, US Department of Energy who reiterated the United States Government commitment to support African countries in developing their nuclear power programmes.
The exhibition accompanying the conference was well subscribed with entities such as Russia’s State Agency for Nuclear Energy (ROSATOM), France’s EDF, Canadian firm L3MAPPS, China National Nuclear Corporation(CNNC), Western Services Corporation, Excel Services Corporation, Tractebel, as well as the Nuclear Power and Energy Agency(Kenya) showcasing their products, services, achievements and future plans.
During the closing session, Chairman Nuclear Power and Energy Agency Eng. Ezra Odhiambo, challenged delegates to enhance nuclear energy’s appeal by making discourse around the subject simple and understandable to all and sundry. He said that Africa’s nuclear energy pursuit should be supported and encouraged.
“A nuclear power programme helps to foster industrialization and hence Africa should accelerate towards it. Kenya strongly believes that starting a nuclear Power Programme comes with a unique responsibility which also includes strengthening regulatory policies,” said Eng. Odhiambo.
NuPEA is currently conducting studies on the identified potential sites for the construction of nuclear power plants while the legislation for the formation of a nuclear regulatory body is currently before the Kenyan Parliament.