By Emmanuel Wandera
The critical role of a legal and regulatory framework in a nuclear power programme was the key message by the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board during the 2017 annual Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Conference, which was held between 23rd to 27th August 2017 at the Leisure Lodge Beach & Golf Resort in Kwale County.
Under the theme: Safeguarding the rule of law and democratic gains, the conference converged lawyers from various parts of the country with the US Ambassador Robert Godec as the chief guest during the official opening.
The Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board took on the role of a sponsor in the silver category. 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 KNEB Board Member Belinda Kiilu.
She 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 Ms. Kiilu.
The conference comes at a critical time when KNEB, 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 KNEB 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.
KNEB 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 KNEB 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.