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Nuclear Security Cooperation With Tanzania

Uranium exploration drilling. (file)
Uranium exploration drilling. (file)

The U.S. is assisting several nations in Africa with the secure development of uranium resources and peaceful applications of nuclear technology.

Safeguarding nuclear technology is a central element of international peace and security. The United States is working to assist several nations in Africa to develop the necessary legal and regulatory frameworks that would allow for the safe and secure development of uranium resources, as well as of the peaceful applications of nuclear technology.

Uranium exploration drilling. (file)
Uranium exploration drilling. (file)

To this end, officials representing 3 U.S. government agencies that oversee nuclear security issues traveled to Dar es Salaam this month to meet with their Tanzanian counterparts. In 2 days of talks, they discussed a range of topics, including uranium mining and milling infrastructure; nuclear safety, security and safeguards; strategic trade and border security; and possible areas of increased cooperation.

Following 2 recent commercial discoveries in the central and southern regions of the country, Tanzania is looking to begin mining and processing uranium there within the next 3 years.

In the medium-term, the country aims to export its deposits of the valuable mineral to produce nuclear power overseas. Such an initiative could make uranium the nation's most dependable export after gold, officials there say. For the longer term, Tanzania is contemplating civil nuclear power for its own domestic power production. The country now relies on hydropower for its electricity, but suffers regular power cuts due to problems with supply and maintenance.

The benefits of uranium exports would be considerable for Tanzania, which, though it has made strides in economic growth, still depends heavily on aid from foreign donors.

The recent discussions mark an important beginning of U.S.-Tanzanian efforts to work more closely together on mutually held international security and nonproliferation objectives.