KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 – The United States (US) is willing to assist Malaysia if the latter decides to go ahead and build a nuclear power plant, according to American diplomat, Ambassador Laura E. Kennedy. Kennedy, charge d’affaires at the Permanent Mission of the US to the International Organisations in Vienna, noted that her country had a long standing nuclear power industry and expertise in this field.
“It’s completely up to the government of Malaysia. But we’ll be happy to negotiate a cooperation agreement like what we have with other countries that permits civilian trade in nuclear-related materials,” Kennedy, who is on a two-day working visit to Malaysia, told the media here. In July, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mah Siew Keong said the government would conduct a feasibility study on a proposal to build a nuclear power plant in the country.
It was earlier reported that the government planned to build two nuclear power plants to meet rising energy demand, one by 2021 and the second a year later. Kennedy said before any decision on this matter was made, it was important for Malaysia to engage with nuclear regulatory bodies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over the need to conform to international safety standards.
The envoy, who is in the country to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, said Malaysians should be aware that nuclear technology can be beneficial in fields such as health and agriculture. A cancer survivor, Kennedy highlighted the use of such technology in cancer treatment and how nuclear-related technology was being used to help fight the Ebola scourge.