The Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (NuPEA) has been tasked with developing the nuclear power program in Kenya.
It is in this light that it is mandated with developing qualified manpower through mainly advanced education.
This mandate has been partly successful.
Since its’ founding as Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board in 2010, it has managed to partner with various institutions such as Texas A&M University in the USA, KEPCO International Nuclear Graduate School (KINGS) in South Korea, Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (INST) at UoN in Kenya, and various others in Russia and China.
These training have mainly been MSc, MEng, and PhDs.
Many professionals have been trained in the nuclear field, but unfortunately, over 90% have not been employed by the leading nuclear body.
Over 100 highly trained nuclear specialists in Kenya are not employed in the sector.
The main reasons are an incompetent CEO, a politically connected and highly nepotic board, and a misaligned training program.
The CEO, Eng. Collins Juma, with a Mechanical Engineering degree, has no adequate training in the nuclear sector.
He patched his qualifications with a master’s degree in operations management and currently pursuing a never-ending PhD in the same.
NuPEA is a startup in need of a knowledgeable nuclear engineer as a bare minimum.
Eng. Collins Juma and all the associated management team have no tangible nuclear power experience/education.
The problem with this is a cascade, a fault at the top recruits a fault below it, and so on.
The management is strapped due to a lack of knowledge/expertise.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has validated the functions of NuPEA, giving it a false sense of direction.
The IAEA has no clue of the level of corruption and deceit in the recruitment of personnel at the agency.
It’s a shame that IAEA with its vast trainings and endowments cannot see that every opportunity it gives is awarded to a few members of NuPEA.
This is a major problem since all trainings that suit outsider staff are awarded to a clique of individuals in NuPEA so as to earn those individuals IAEA’s generous per diems.
A technical field as nuclear requires a technical workforce, but NuPEA has only a handful of them courtesy of a flawed structure that emphasizes policy over the actual technology.
One major shortcoming of the education programme the institutions aforementioned is that NuPEA doesn’t follow through, the students pursue irrelevant courses that don’t benefit NuPEAs agenda.
The board is another major problem.
Roughly everyone employed at NuPEA is courtesy of this board, they pick their own irrespective of qualification.
Ask for the qualifications of their personnel and you’ll uncover a rotten organization. No one gets into NuPEA on merit alone.
NuPEA was recently listed as an agency the government can do without.
This was a recommendation by the John-Ngumi led taskforce to assess power purchase agreements (PPAs).
Interestingly, however, the agency still operates and its budgetary allocation doubled in the 2022-2023 budget.
NuPEA is a politically driven organization headed by an equally incompetent CEO.
The board is well connected politically and the closure of the agency would have meant no revenues for the system.
Considering the technical aspects of nuclear in Kenya, the energy outlook report does not consider it viable until at least 2040.
Continuing sponsoring the nuclear program in Kenya is a waste of public resources, combine that with the lack of experts in its workforce, it’s a double tragedy.
The latest move by NuPEA is to damage a serene ecosystem in Kilifi.
Such mistakes are done by rookies.