East Africa Embracing Nuclear Energy

South Africa's Safari-1 reactor
South Africa’s Safari-1 nuclear reactor

Kenya will use nuclear energy as part of the government’s efforts to meet the rising energy demands.

The revelation came at the 23rd African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research working group meeting in Mombasa yesterday that brought together close to 100 participants from the region.

The country’s Higher Education minister Margret Kamar said that a bill to operationalise the same was in the offing to ensure that more energy to propel Kenya towards implementation of vision 2030 is achieved. “Kenya needs close to 12 times the amount of its current energy supply to achieve vision its 2030. we are developing a bill that if adopted will lead to the establishment of an Atomic Energy Commission, Nuclear Electricity Board and an Atomic Energy Research Institute responsible for regulation, promotion and research for nuclear energy,” said Kamar.

The minister said that atomic energy was useful for the growth of various economic sectors among them agriculture and health with cancer treatment cited as the one of the achievement the atomic energy plays a pivotal role. She said, “That the bill will therefore boost the fight against cancer as enshrined the International Atomic Energy Agency Policy programme of action on cancer therapy.”

According to the minister, cancer which has been rated as the third killer disease will be tackled effectively with the onset of full nuclear energy usage in the country. “Nuclear approach is also another source of cancer care. We want to take advantage in that, rather than just using this energy of power production. We have such programme at Kenyatta National Hospital but we are working closely with IAEA to spread the same to all referral hospitals,” said Kamar.

KNH installed a simulator and a gamma camera at the Cancer Treatment Centre in partnership with the IAEA early last year. The hospital has also come up with a Comprehensive Project Proposal on expansion and establishment of cancer services in Kenya and is spearheading establishment of these cancer centres in the country.