The government has developed a new law to regulate the anticipated production of nuclear electricity set for 2027.
The draft Nuclear Regulatory Bill, 2018, proposing the setting up of the sector’s regulator prior to construction of the first nuclear plant in 2024 has been tabled in National Assembly.
The state-sponsored law by Majority Leader Aden Duale seeks the creation of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) under the director general as the CEO to oversee the nuclear power.
“The Bill aims to protect the people, property and the environment from the harmful effects of exposure to radiation and to provide for nuclear safety and non- proliferation in accordance with national and international obligations,” it reads.
The proposed law repeals the existing Radiation Protection Act by providing for a comprehensive regulatory framework including safety measures in carrying out nuclear energy activities and associated wastes.
NRC will be allocated taxpayers’ money by Parliament to finance its operations will be an independent and autonomous body under the Energy ministry.
Kenya’s bid to generate nuclear power by setting up a 1,000-megawatt plant at Coastal region to supplement hydro-power which accounts for 35 per cent of energy in the country.
South Africa is the only African country producing nuclear electricity while Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia just like Kenya_ are five nations agitating for construction of the multi-billion shilling nuclear power plant.
Any person or company intending to engage in nuclear energy activities will be required to get clearance from NRC to ensure protection of people‘s health, property and the environment during their operations.
“A person who contravenes this section commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh5 million or an imprisonment for
a term not exceeding five years or to both,” the Bill reads.
Authorised local or foreign investors in nuclear energy will be required to ensure all practicable measures considered to minimize accidents leading to health risks due to exposure to radiation during the operations.
The proposed law provides that an investor who violates the regulation risks Sh1 million fine or not more than one year in jail or both if found guilty.
The regulator’s inspector will have powers to enter any nuclear facility to establish compliance to the regulations by temporarily suspending the license where the provisions are violated in enforcing compliance.
The Commission will also be tasked with ensuring that no unauthorised consumer nuclear products are offered to people until they are justified or their use is exempted.
Persons importing consumer products as exempt commodities will ensure they are packaged and labelled as per NRC prescribed provisions.
“A person who contravenes this section commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh5 million or to an imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both,” the Bill reads.