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Evaluating Nuclear Energy as Part of Kenya's Clean, Reliable Energy Future

As part of the campaign to Research the Impacts on Social Equity and Economic Empowerment (RISE3), NICE Future is conducting a study with Kenya to evaluate the economic and jobs impacts of adopting nuclear energy.

This study will provide an example to other nations wishing to move forward in their clean energy transition. The study and its results were presented at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) along with a video showcasing members of the Kenya Nuclear Power and Energy Agency.

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Key Takeaways

After creating capacity expansion, economic impact, and non-grid economic models, the Kenya study produced several major takeaways.

  1. Adding nuclear energy into the energy mix reduces systemwide energy costs.
  2. Adding nuclear energy into the energy mix increases renewables, especially wind, deployments. This is due to smaller, more flexible reactors that can respond to changes in wind output.
  3. Nuclear energy increases local jobs and positively affects the local economy it is built in.
  4. Nuclear energy decreases dependence of Kenya on foreign fuels and reduces fuel imports and emissions.
  5. Nuclear energy enables local industry when it is coupled to thermally driven processes.
  6. Nuclear energy could also serve non-grid applications by providing heat for industrial applications, desalination, and energy for microgrids.

Kenya has made great strides in increasing access to electricity and setting ambitious decarbonization goals. Nuclear power stands as a promising technology to help reduce the emissions from difficult-to-decarbonize sectors and provide reliable baseload power to non-grid connected communities. Nuclear energy can support a broad array of Kenyan energy needs, can integrate with other renewable energy sources, and increase the reliability of the energy grid. NICE Future’s research with Kenya is a starting point for future research across Africa and the globe. Informing decision makers about the potential benefits of incipient nuclear technologies can help enable deep decarbonization alongside technological and economic progress.

The NICE Future initiative will continue to conduct similar modeling studies with interested countries to better understand how nuclear energy can support economic growth and job creation through their clean energy transition.