From 8th -11th April, Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (NuPEA) formerly Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) in its quest to promote Science and Innovation amongst upcoming scientists pitched tent at the 2019 Kenya Science and Engineering Fair (KSEF) National competition at Jomo Kenyatta High School in Nakuru County.
The four day event brought together over 1500 young innovators from High schools drawn from across the country and 500 teachers who mentored the students in coming up with their innovations that were exhibited in the Science Fair. This presented a unique opportunity to NuPEA to engage young innovators on nuclear energy development in Kenya and their role as the future human resource for Kenya’s nuclear power programme.
The 2019 KSEF shy of expectations, was marked by innovation and ingenuity, which carried the day. This was evident as the chief Guest H.E Dr. Eric Korir, the Deputy Governor of Nakuru County lauded the students for great innovations during the opening ceremony.
‘I can comfortably state from what I have seen here today, that Kenya’s vision 2030 is in safe hands and the country’s future is bright with these young scientists and innovators leading the way’, said the Deputy Governor in his opening remarks after viewing various ideas presented at the Fair.
In the bid to promote science and innovation, NuPEA has always partnered with the Ministry of Education, the organizers, to reward winners in Physics, Engineering and Energy categories by way of trophies and cash vouchers for their outstanding innovations. This is the fifth year in a row that NuPEA is sponsoring KSEF national competitions.
During the Fair, NuPEA had an opportunity to interact with students and teachers through sensitization about nuclear energy and NuPEA as an entity. The students portrayed immense interest in nuclear energy and surprisingly, some of the students have vast knowledge about nuclear energy beyond the basic radioactivity topic taught in high schools.
Cheer from the students marked the awarding ceremony particularly the schools that won specific categories. Turning the projects into business opportunities was discussed at length by the organizers and sponsors. The discussion culminated in one of the sponsors offering to invest in the top two projects to turn them into business ventures envisaged to help the students cash in on their innovations. Also, the students with overall best project will represent Kenya in the United States of America in the year 2020 at International Science Fair competition.
Just as it has been the tradition, NuPEA will endavour to take part in sponsoring the fair as an avenue for promoting science and innovation among the young and agile students. This will create a critical human resource pool for Kenya’s nuclear power plants with the first 1000MW being commissioned by 2027.
By Jonathan Njoroge