Evaluating legal and regulatory provision for the resilience of nuclear energy.
The study provides an analysis of challenges faced in nuclear energy safety law and regulation and addresses the lack of research into resilience in them. To aid understanding of this, the study will evaluate three civilian nuclear energy accidents: Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. It will also discuss nuclear energy safety reforms. Further, the study will investigate the extent to which international, regional and selected national regulatory systems place emphasis on ensuring a resilient safety system in the expanding provision of nuclear energy. A comparative analysis of nuclear legislation and implementation will be conducted in the UK (a country with well-developed nuclear technology), South Africa (a country which aims to expand its existing technology) and Kenya (a country in an advanced stage of developing the technology).
This study is particularly significant because of the increasingly important role nuclear energy plays in the supply of electricity. Nuclear energy also epitomizes state of the art technology and has expertise spill-over effects that enhance productivity and employment in different fields, as well as bolstering economic development, competitiveness and sustainability. It is against this backdrop that more research is needed into the resilience of regulatory systems if nuclear energy is to play a role in meeting energy demands, particularly in developing and emerging markets such as Kenya and South Africa. Nuclear energy offers clean energy (in terms of climate change at least) and has capacity to meet base load electricity demands in highly populated areas, while alternative sources have limited capacity. However, given the recent accident still unfolding in Japan at Fukushima, the question that arises is whether African and in particular South Africa and Kenya’s regulatory systems are prepared to deal with such catastrophic events.