Monday, 13 October 2014

Nuclear power and Economic Competitiveness

I often hear people complain about the rising electricity costs and this is not limited to individuals but also big corporations. The sad part is some businesses take advantage of this by deliberately increasing the prices of their commodities, making some "illegal" profits. The government has tried to regulate through agencies such as Energy Regulatory Commission, but the issue has over time been controversial and not a permanent solution. Factors such as inflation, increase in foreign exchange rates and the occasional decision by Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase oil prices citing other reasons, contributes to the continuous increase in energy costs. The nuclear power project will be the best permanent solution to counter the rise in commodity prices, increase the competitiveness of Kenya as a business hub. As a movie enthusiast, i would like to see film makers coming to Kenya and use our beautiful scenery as one of their sites for their films. Over the years, they have been heading to Republic of South Africa for both business and pleasure and the influx of tourists is four times that of Kenya, this is not good for us. Recently, there has been two films, where part of their scenes been filmed in South Africa, Blended and the highly anticipated upcoming superhero film The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron set to be released in 2015. The key to this is not just the economy of South Africa, but the costs are less compared to filming in Kenya. Electricity costs is a major factor considered, when it comes to filming. South Africa current output is over 40,000 Megawatts and Kenya is 1700 Megawatts. There has been a lot of claims that we need to focus on green energy. If you compare coal, oil and gas to Nuclear Energy, you will find that for by the time a nuclear power plant gets to be decommissioned, it will take some twenty to thirty years, where the only waste will be a few tonnes of radio active material that will be kept in containment facilities to be used again in future compared to the hundreds of tonnes of carbon emissions produced by the conventional three. Energy is vital in all aspects to the economy, particularly tourism. Kenya needs to go nuclear to power the economy to greater heights and bring in investments not just the usual and obvious types but also the occasional ones like the ever lucrative film industry that we have to tap into and compete with other countries for location sites and production, where energy is the backbone of it all. If we look at the state of California in USA, produces over 69,000 Megawatts, with 8 nuclear power plants that produces part of the energy needed, and its economy is $ 2.05 trillion. If it was a country on its own, then it would have been the 8th largest economy in the world. If Kenya wants to tap into the entertainment industry, like California that constantly brings in a lot of revenue then a consistent supply of energy is needed to compliment this and that is to go Nuclear.


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  2. For Kenya to try to get a nuclear power station would be a terrible mistake. Japan is a first world economy that leads the world in technology, they have nuclear reactors that have been leaking toxic readioactive waste into the ocean for over a year (Fukushima). Why would anyone think Kenya could avoid these problems? Kenya's economy is based on its environment (tea and tourism) The effects of a similar situation would be extremely devastating to the Kenyan economy, to East African stability, and to the world considering the large numbers of rare animals and habitats that would be affected.
    For the cost of a nuclear power station (billions of $) Kenya could firmly establish itself as a leader in solar technology. Kenya is located on the equator and receives some of the most solar insolation of any region in the world. Global estimates point out that by 2050 the world will be getting half of its energy from the sun. The global solar industry already supports more jobs than the coal industry. Kenya would be wise to establish itself as a global player in the solar industry both as a manufacturer and a consumer. The risks are much lower than nuclear power, the cost is much lower than nuclear power, and the benefits are much greater when you consider the potential impact on the economy via jobs and trade export.
    in 2012 Germany installed 7.6 TW of solar energy. Currently Kenya produces about 6 TW of energy FROM EVERY SOURCE. In one year Germany installed more solar capacity than Kenya produces from every source. Kenya receives more solar energy from the sun than Germany so the same equipment would be more efficient and produce more energy in Kenya than in Germany.
    Solar Energy = more jobs, more growth potential, less risk, less cost than nuclear.
    A nuclear power station will not attract the film industry any more than solar energy will, and California just opened the worlds largest solar power station last year-California is heading towards solar instead of nuclear for many of the reasons listed above.