Countryman

US diplomat Thomas Countryman, an assistant secretary in the US Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, has expressed concern with regards to African countries that have recently shown interest in the use of nuclear energy.

In an interview with local media in Kenya, the Daily Nation, Countryman advised African countries, including Kenya, to carefully consider the implications that will come with employing nuclear in the future.

US Deputy Assistant SecretaryThomas Countryman
US Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas Countryman

According to the media, the US ambassador said Washington has no concerns in principle regarding development of civilian nuclear technology in East Africa, adding that "nuclear energy represents a huge decision for any country to make".

Nuclear looks like a good deal - Countryman

Countryman highlighted that by deciding to generate electricity from nuclear, "you are committing yourself and future generations for hundreds and thousands of years to the nuclear fuel cycle and to the cost of maintaining safe disposal" of radioactive wastes.

"It's not a decision to be taken lightly by any country. I am concerned about countries pursuing nuclear power because it looks like a good deal today,” Countryman said.

In pursuit of nuclear technology, Kenya is reported to have recently signed two cooperation deals with both South Korea and Russia, of which last year the country engaged in a similar deal with China.

Kenya progressing with nuclear

According to the Daily Nation, last year a team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency said at the conclusion of an eight-day mission in August 2015 that Kenya has made "significant progress" in establishing a decision-making framework related to nuclear power infrastructure.

In addition, the experts suggested that Kenya should create a "robust regulatory programme" coupled with training and skills development programmes to support human and institutional capacity.