Persons found guilty of using a nuclear plant to cause death or bodily harm will be fined up to Sh10 million or handed a jail term of 20 years or both in the proposed law to regulate the production of nuclear electricity.
The fine is contained in the proposed law being put in place ahead of plans to build a nuclear plant in the next 12-15 years.
The penalty that will also apply to damage or interference with a nuclear plant with an intention to destroy property or environment, says the Nuclear Regulatory Bill.
“A person who uses or damages a nuclear facility, or interferes in whatever manner with its operation with the intent to cause death or bodily harm, damage to property or environment by compelling a person to do or refrain from doing an act commits an offence and is liable upon conviction,” the says draft bill states.
The proposed law will replace the existing Radiation Protection Act with Nuclear Regulatory Commission replacing the Radiation Protection Board.
The proposed law has expanded the regulatory framework to include safety measures in carrying out nuclear energy activities and disposal of related wastes.
Despite many developed countries retiring nuclear plants or slowing down on power production from this source, Kenya maintains that its plans to construct a 1,000-megawatt plant are still intact.
The Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board, the capacity building agency, has mapped Lake Turkana, the Indian Ocean and Lake Naivasha as sites for the building of the nuclear power plant.
The cost of building Kenya’s first nuclear plant is estimated at $5 billion (Sh512.7 billion) and will take at least five years to build.
Kenya views nuclear power both as a long-term solution to high fuel levy costs — incurred during times of drought when diesel generators are used — and an effective way to cut carbon emissions from the power generating sector.
Hydropower accounts for 35 per cent of Kenya’s electricity generation, with the rest coming from geothermal, wind and heavy oil plants.