The Titans of Nuclear Podcast interviews Dr. David Otwoma, an ISTC-affiliated Expert from Kenya

Bret Kugelmass, the host of the Titans of Nuclear podcast that features experts on nuclear energy, interviewed on 10 June 2020 Dr. David Otwoma, Chief Analyst at the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI), Kenya, who is also a resource person for the ISTC – implemented EU Project MC 5.01 15B Support to Southern African States in Nuclear Safety and Safeguards. The anchor man, a Stanford MS mechanical engineer who has identified a huge disconnect between nuclear and tech and environment communities, strives through its podcast “to compile an audio encyclopedia of the greatest minds in Nuclear Energy opening the field to environmental-minded technologists.”

Dr. David Otwoma is a perfect choice of expert to invite from Kenya. A member of the Board of the new Nuclear Regulatory Authority of Kenya, successor of the former Radiation Protection Board (RPB), Dr. Otwoma is an advocate for an African-led development of nuclear energy and nuclear technologies. He insists on building “our Europe” on the African continent, focusing on creating a cohort of local experts in the field of nuclear. This is a mission he pursues in his capacity of advisor to the Kenyan Young Generation in Nuclear – the national chapter of the African Young Generation in Nuclear. Both organizations are ISTC partners in spreading nuclear safety and security culture in Africa, including through the implementation of the EU-funded Project MC 5.01 15B Support to Southern African States in Nuclear Safety and Safeguards and Project 60  Support to the CBRN CoE for Central and eastern Africa in Nuclear Security.

Since 2019, David has contributed his expertise and personal engagement to the success of several public forums under Project MC 5.01 15B, including the capacity development workshop on Nuclear Safety and Nuclear Transportation Safeguards, convened by ISTC and SADC Secretariat during the SADC Energy Subcommittee Meeting in Dar es Salaam in February 2020 and the international round table, convened by ISTC and the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP) during the 2020 International Conference on Nuclear Security under the aegis of IAEA in Vienna from 10 through 14 February 2020. Dr. Otwoma was the driving force that made Kenya’s NACOSTI a member of ISTC.

His professional carrier started at the RPB in 1988, where he was among the first three young university graduates to be recruited to catalogue the radiation sources scattered throughout Kenya in medical applications, industry and agriculture. He was also among the 30 participants in the first ever IAEA training course in Africa in that same year. Later he became an IAEA nuclear safeguards inspector, which brought him on missions to many European countries, as well as to Kazakhstan.

In 2008, back in Nairobi from Vienna, Dr. Otwoma became involved with the Nuclear Electricity Project Committee, from which the Kenyan Nuclear Electricity Board sprang out to be succeeded by its present-day successor – the Nuclear Power and Energy Agency, the peaceful use promoter in Kenya. David was privy to innovative undertakings that evolved into major milestones. For example, the Least Cost Power Development Plan he authored, is nowadays at the core of the energy chapter of the government strategy Vision 2030, that sets up as an objective to build a national nuclear power plant in 2036.