KNEB’s Director Legal discussing nuclear matters with Prof. Yash Pal Ghai at KNEB exhibition booth.

The critical role of a legal and regulatory framework in a nuclear power programme was the key message by the Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (NuPEA) formerly KNEB during the 2018 annual Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Conference, which was held between 8th to 12th August 2018 at the Leisure Lodge Beach & Golf Resort in Kwale County.

Under the theme: The Rule of Law and Contested Constitutionalism in Post 2010 Kenya: Promises, Progress, Pitfalls and Prospectsthe conference converged over 1000 lawyers from various parts of the country with the Chief Justice Hon. David Maraga as the chief guest during the official opening.

The NuPEA took on the role of a sponsor in the silver category for the second time in a row. This was in recognition of the key role played by enabling legislation in developing a nuclear power programme.

“The legal profession has the onerous task of formulating the legal and regulatory framework for Kenya’s nuclear power programme as per the International Atomic Energy Agency’s guidelines,” said NuPEA Board Member Mr. Joseph Odhiambo.

He challenged the lawyers at the conference to spearhead public discourse on nuclear law.

“To undertake this role effectively, lawyers will require specialization and a good understanding of nuclear law,’ added Mr. Odhiambo.

The conference comes at a critical time when NuPEA, in conjunction with the Radiation Protection Board, is at an advanced stage in preparing the Draft Nuclear Regulatory Bill. Once enacted by Parliament, the legislation will be beneficial to Kenya’s nuclear power programme as it seeks to establish a nuclear regulatory body to provide oversight and enforce stipulated standards as per international best practices in the nuclear industry.  Kenya targets to commission its first 1000MW nuclear power plant in 2027.

At the NuPEA exhibition stand, the lawyers attending the conference were enthusiastic in learning more about Kenya’s nuclear power programme, the progress made so far and the future outlook. In addition to the exhibition stand, NuPEA also branded the conference bags and made a ten minute presentation on the role of lawyers in Kenya’s nuclear power programme and Draft Nuclear Regulatory Bill.

NuPEA has a robust stakeholder engagement programme that acknowledges the important role that professional bodies play in Kenya’s pursuit of nuclear electricity generation by 2027 through partnership, continual engagement and sensitization.

Other Professional bodies NuPEA has engaged include: Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Kenya Private Sector Alliance, Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya, Media Council of Kenya, Public Relations Society of Kenya, Institute of Human Resource Management and Institute of Risk Management, among others.

By Emmanuel Wandera