International Atomic Energy Agency
General Conference
(Unofficial electronic version)
August 1996

Fortieth regular session

Technical Co-operation Report for 1995

Report by the Director General

Note: This electronic presentation consists only of the Highlights and Part B - Review by Area of document GC(40)/INF/3.


Africa | Latin America | East Asia and Pacific | West Asia | Europe | Interregional

18. During the year, great emphasis was placed on "upstream work" to prepare the 1997-1998 Biennial Programme. Upstream work refers to early programme planning and development work done in consultation with counterpart institutions to address subjects of priority, capabilities and opportunity for technical co-operation. The new process started in 1995 to guide programme planning resulted from the Policy Review Seminar in 1994. The CPF as a management tool forms the basis for agreement between the Agency and the Member State to both concentrate assistance in a few strategic areas, and undertake specific follow-up actions. The 28 CPFs initiated in 1995 provided a solid basis for assessing the effectiveness of the process. An assessment was undertaken early in 1996, and will be the subject of a later report.

19. The central objective guiding programming in 1995 was to extend the "discipline" of Model Projects throughout the Programme. This does not necessarily mean that all projects should produce social or economic impact. It means that all projects should be directed at clearly defined problems with measurable objectives. The discipline of Model Projects refers to the need to adopt clear standards for programme planning, project formulation, monitoring and performance, and evaluation. Adherence to such standards enhances the quality of the Programme. Quality management is the overriding objective of the TC Department.

20. The following review examines the characteristics of programme management and planning that improved the focus, government involvement and impact of the technical co-operation activities in each of the five regions. The activities mentioned are not exhaustive, but illustrate how technical co-operation activities are being systematically strengthened through improved planning, project design, monitoring and evaluation to produce measurable impact and greater benefit for Member States.

1. Africa

21. Building upon the concept and criteria of Model Projects, the Agency introduced substantial improvements in the 1995-96 technical co-operation cycle. As a result support from donors and financing institutions for several new projects in the region seems to be increasing. New obligations funded by extrabudgetary contributions from Member States exceeded US$ 2.5 million in 1995.

22. The policy dialogue with Member States expanded through programme monitoring and review missions to Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria and Uganda. These missions served to strengthen upstream work with Member States, streamline national programmes, and also identify problems hindering project implementation . Preparation of draft CPF documents for Cameroon, Ghana, Namibia, Sudan, Zambia and Uganda were completed and CPF documents were finalized for Madagascar, Tunisia and Zimbabwe, following field missions.

23. In Madagascar, the CPF process resulted in the identification of key agricultural activities that will boost farm animal production and develop improved cultivars of major food crops, i.e. cassava and rice. A CPF mission to Tunisia identified a potential Model Project that will use nuclear techniques to improve water and soil management practices in the Kairouan plain, situated in the central part of the country. A potential area of further collaboration was related to the proposed acquisition of a 2MW nuclear research reactor by the Government.

24. The CPF for Zimbabwe indicates two priority needs in agriculture: integration of the sterile insect technique (SIT) with conventional bait methods for tsetse fly eradication in the Matusadona National Park; and improved soil fertility and crop production on small farms in the communal areas, using the biological nitrogen fixation technique. National authorities will also assess the desirability for Agency support in improving the diagnosis and monitoring of infectious animal diseases, in view of the economic importance of livestock. In the water sector, isotope hydrology will be used in combination with conventional techniques to investigate ground water resources for small scale irrigation from the Nyamanhlovu and Save River aquifer systems. With regard to human health, project designs were developed in co-operation with local counterparts, employing isotopes and advanced molecular techniques in diagnosing and controlling tuberculosis and malaria.

25. Five Model Projects were operational in 1995, covering a wide range of developmental priorities: assessment and development of water resources (regional); radiotherapy and nuclear medicine (Ghana); crop improvement (Mali); screening of neonatal hypothyroidism (Tunisia); and eradication of tsetse fly in Tanzania. Overall activities were carried out as planned and the average implementation rate achieved was 87.7%. These Model Projects injected new vitality into the Agency's technical co-operation programme in Africa. The Model Project concept has introduced a new managerial approach to technical assistance and aided programming activities in the region by facilitating policy dialogue with Member States. This has helped in the design and formulation of similar or model-like projects for the 1997-98 programming cycle

26. During 1995, a substantial increase in field activities of the Model Project to eradicate tsetse flies resulted in a significant reduction of wild tsetse flies on Zanzibar. Following the refurbishment of the insectaries, Tanga has the largest tsetse colony in the world, with over 420,000 females by the end of the year. The aerial releases of sterile tsetse flies resumed early in the year and proved to be very effective. Thus, the wild tsetse fly population in the Jozani forest is now estimated to be only 3% of what it was two years ago. A third insectary at Tanga became operational in April 1996, increasing the colony to over 600,000, and bringing the number of sterile males released to 60,000 per week in the remaining parts of Unguja in mid-1996. After just one complete year of sterile male releases, females routinely caught in the wild already show a high ratio of infertility, reaching 65% in the first quarter of 1996. It is anticipated that another year of sterile male releases will cause the collapse of the tsetse population.

27. National Authorities have provided scientists, technicians, and supportive infrastructure, as well as cash for the project, which is integrated with national development plans so that its benefits reach the small farmers who will use the tsetse-free land. To rebuild Zanzibar's herds of mixed livestock, family based farming is now being expanded. Farmers in areas that until recently were infested now have the opportunity to obtain cattle through a Government programme offering concessional loans. Another Government programme is developing an integrated smallholder farm system with a loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), $615,000 of which is supporting the tsetse eradication programme on Zanzibar. Government initiatives are based on the very real prospect of the tsetse fly being eradicated by the end of the Model Project, expected to occur as scheduled in 1997.

28. In Tunisia a screening programme for neonatal hypothyroidism was launched in three centres in Tunis, Sousse and Sfax, under Model Project TUN/6/005. On average, about 2000 newborn babies are currently being screened every month, representing about 12% of the total. The first positive case identified so far is undergoing treatment and about 10 others have been recalled for verification. Tunisia has RIA facilities in nine hospitals, each of which will receive training and supplies of reagents. With all centers participating in the screening programme, total sample capacity of over 100,000 assays can be achieved. A law was issued in September 1995 to add iodine to salt, and legislation that would mandate blood samples be taken from all newborn babies in Tunisia for hypothyroidism test is ready for enactment.

29. The Government of Ghana has committed about $1,000,000 to construct the buildings for a new radiotherapy and nuclear medicine network. The facility in Accra is expected to be functional by the end of 1996. A contribution of $780,000 has been made by the People's Republic of China, mainly to purchase equipment for the radiotherapy unit in Accra. Fellowships have been awarded to train 20 specialists, including 4 radiotherapists to support the 2 centres in Accra and Kumasi.

30. In Mali, the Model Project evaluating the field performance of improved varieties of sorghum and African rice made steady progress. Five mutant varieties of sorghum and the control were grown on demonstration plots, and two of the mutants (MIK-41, MIK-42) produced 33% and 38% higher yields than the control variety. With the average yield of sorghum in Mali around 800 kg/ha, the mutants have the potential to produce over 1,100 kg/ha. Yield performance trials were conducted in four locations. For the African rice, trials did not have sufficient plant stand to assess yield performance, however further sow trials will be conducted in 1996

31. Considerable progress was achieved in implementing the regional Model Project on water resources for Africa (RAF/8/022). In all four participating countries (Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco and Senegal), field investigations and sampling were carried out. Two experts from India provided technical assistance to these field investigations. The water samples collected during the field campaigns are being analyzed by isotope hydrology laboratories in India, in France, in the UK and at the IAEA. Initial results have proved highly relevant to water resources management in the region. For example, isotope data from Morocco indicate prevalence of paleo-water, disproving previous assumptions of recent replenishment of the groundwater system. In the Moyale aquifer system (in the south of Ethiopia), preliminary data of the isotope tritium revealed two types of groundwater resources with different rates of replenishment and different potentials for meeting water requirements in the area. Steps are now underway to include more countries in phase II of the project, which will start in 1997 subject to approval by the Board. The appropriate design of project activities is reflected in a financial implementation rate of 96.2% achieved in 1995.

32. As part of its assistance in the water sector, the Agency developed a feasibility study of nuclear desalination as a source of low cost potable water in North Africa under regional project RAF/4/010. The study indicates that nuclear energy can serve as an economically competitive alternative to fossil fuels for generating electricity and supplying energy for seawater desalination in medium to large units. The Government of Morocco has expressed interest in using a small nuclear heating reactor for seawater desalination, and a reserve fund project was established to assist in a pre-project study of such a demonstration plant. A subsequent project will be carried out through a bilateral co-operation accord between China and Morocco.

33. Collaboration with FAO in sub-Saharan Africa was considerably strengthened through a new project being implemented within the framework of FAO's Special Programme on Food Production in Support of Food Security in Low Income Food Deficit Countries (LIFDC). Nuclear techniques are being used to assess the sustainability of food production systems under various technological packages by monitoring nutrients and pesticides in pilot farm demonstration areas in Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia.

34. Infrastructure and facilities established with previous assistance of the Agency are also being effectively utilized for the development of many Member States in the region. The non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques of the Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Organization (TIRDO) were used to inspect the TAZAMA oil pipeline (which runs from Tanzania to Zambia), a newly built oil storage tank at Kigoma, and cast sugar roller shells. The gamma irradiation facility in Ghana is being employed on a semi-commercial scale for the sterilization of medical products. The radiotherapy services set up in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda are contributing significantly to cancer treatment and are much appreciated by the general public and the respective Governments.

35. In Egypt, progress was made in 1995 in the production of radioisotopes for use in nuclear medicine. Basic kits for labelling with technetium-99m for use as radiopharmaceuticals were produced and tested clinically, and locally produced Tc-generators are now being supplied to Cairo hospitals. In the field of radioimmunoassay, achievements include the production of kits for T3 and T4 thyroid hormones using locally developed reagents (tracers, second antibody and quality control sera).

36. A technical co-operation project implemented at the Institute of Agricultural Research in Holetta, Ethiopia, is improving the productivity of local breeds of cattle though better nutritional management. It was shown that urea/molasses/mineral blocks (UMMB) could serve as inexpensive substitutes for the concentrated feed supplements presently provided to some dairy cattle. The developmental work on UMMB technology has a great potential as a low-cost and sustainable method of improving livestock and milk production. This is especially important for Ethiopia, which has the largest cattle population in Africa with an estimated 32 million heads

37. The Ethiopian Rift Valley is endowed with a rich potential of resources that could be exploited for geothermal electricity generation and other direct energy uses. With the assistance of bilateral and multilateral donors, eight exploratory wells have been drilled in the Aluto-Langano region and four others in Tendaho. Moreover, the Ethiopian Electric Light and Power Authority has issued a tender for the construction of a 5 MWe pilot power plant at Aluto utilizing the exploratory wells. The Agency has been supporting these efforts through analysis of samples and interpretation of data under a technical co-operation project, ETH/8/003. Since a vast area of over 150,000 km2 has geothermal potential, further Agency assistance is being proposed to study the geothermal reservoir processes and to identify the recharge zones in 1997.

38. Substantial assistance has been provided to African Member States in the Radiation and Waste Safety fields to create suitable conditions for the sustainable development of nuclear technology in the region. Over 30 related national projects were operational in the region and required co-ordinated management in connection with the Model Project on radiation and waste safety infrastructure. Cameroon, Ghana and Uganda participated in the Model Project activities during the year.

39. Priorities within the Africa Region relate to enforcement mechanisms and technical capabilities. A regional seminar on radiation protection infrastructures and legislative frameworks was held in Zambia. Radiation Safety questionnaires were completed by 12 countries, and these contributed to the guidance provided to representatives of 14 countries where the most noticeable infrastructure deficiencies had been identified. Draft model radiation protection legislation and enforcement regulations consistent with the BSS were prepared by the Agency in support of the seminar. Country-specific Action Plans were developed for the three countries currently participating in the model project, and plans are being prepared for 14 additional countries, including: Côte d'lvoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Zaire, Zimbabwe. A total of 17 countries from the region are participating.


40. Greater emphasis on co-operation in specific fields of nuclear science and technology could be seen in the activities carried out through the regional AFRA agreement. Areas of common interest included: nuclear medicine, clinical radiotherapy, agriculture, maintenance of scientific and medical instruments, radiation protection and waste management. The inter-governmental arrangement, which was extended on 3 April 1995 for another 5 years, now has a membership of 21 countries. Much of the year's efforts concentrated on AFRA's new strategic directions and procedures. Intensive upstream work and consultations with AFRA Member States and donor countries resulted in a new mission and strategy which will guide AFRA's capacity building work in nuclear science and technology over the next five years and consolidate ability to plan and implement appropriate solutions to the region's development problems.

41. Creating an AFRA Field Management Structure that will gradually decentralize all decisions and managerial activities to the field was an essential step towards full ownership of technical co-operation by AFRA Member States. Moreover, the provision of cost-free assistants to the chairperson of AFRA by Member States is an indication of commitment to the spirit and ideals of AFRA and to sharing the available expertise and facilities in the region. Technical backstopping and administrative support provided by the Agency helped translate decisions into actions. Shifting from the project-by-project approach to thematic programming is another promising innovation.

42. The 6th Technical Working Group Meeting held in Johannesburg in April 1995 approved thematic programmes for crop improvement, radioimmunoassay, radiation technology, and radiation safety. As a result of this upstream planning a detailed regional work plan for 1997-2001 was formulated to assist the countries in expanding the scope of RIA activities in the region, notably through: (i) the detection and measurement of tumor markers relevant to the management of some common cancers, (ii) the establishment or upgrading of neonatal hypothyroidism programmes in Africa, and (iii) the stimulation of regional production and distribution of primary reagents for the radioimmunoassay of thyroid related hormones, and for tumor markers.

43. Thanks to extrabudgetary contributions made available by France, the United States and the OPEC Fund, assistance was provided to the AFRA Member States to support their own efforts in radioimmunoassay, mutation breeding, biotechnology and nuclear instrumentation.

2. Latin America

44. Efforts to improve the management of technical co-operation within the region emphasized upstream activities for the 1997-98 biennium. Missions to Member States and visits by government officials and counterparts to IAEA featured briefings on recent programming improvements, including the special features of Model Projects. Follow-up activities are ensuring that the 1997-98 project proposals are formulated along these lines for maximum socio-economic impact.

45. Draft CPFs were prepared in-house for 14 countries. A mission to Cuba was undertaken to review the draft CPF with government officials and staff from various institutions. These documents will serve as the foundation for future programming.

46. New programming objectives involving extending the "discipline" of Model Projects were discussed at a national workshop on project design, management and evaluation techniques held in Brazil. A similar course for ARCAL projects was conducted in the Dominican Republic in February 1996.

47. During the 39th General Conference, Member States were invited to prepare concise plans concerning project proposals to be submitted for the biennium 1997-98. In many instances these plans were discussed with government officials and modifications were made to bring the proposals in accordance with current programming objectives. During 1995, six Model Projects were initiated in the region including applications of nuclear techniques in biology and medicine, and hydrology and geothermics.

48. Argentina's Model Project for the eradication of the Mediterranean fruit-fly completed a second year. So far the eradication has reached across 250,000 Ha. in the central and southern valleys of the Mendoza Province. Progress slackened due to financial problems delaying support from the Government during the second half of 1995; however, a recovery is expected during 1996-97. A medfly genetic sexing or male-only strain developed at the Agency's Seibersdorf Laboratory was successfully introduced into the local rearing and sterilization facility. This use of genetic sexing strain will significantly increase the effectiveness of SIT applications against medflies.

49. An expert from the US Department of Agriculture has estimated that these new strains will save tens of millions of dollars over the lifetime of medfly eradication programmes and will mean the difference between success and failure for the US programme in Hawaii. The strain transferred to Argentina, which allows separation of sexes based on pupal color, (brown for male and white for female) is being mass-produced (150 million/week) and will be released in Mendoza and probably San Juan provinces during 1996. In Patagonia, where project initiation has been delayed by limited official resources, the private Fruit Producers Association will provide funding for both medfly eradication and codling moth control.

50. Peru's Model Project using nuclear techniques to monitor child nutrition interventions was reformulated, taking into account that the provision of the essential operating capital ($10 million) from the national Government for the intended pre-school feeding programme was not forthcoming. An alternative school breakfast programme was proposed by the Peru social-welfare bureau, FONCODES, which has essentially the same objectives as the pre-school programme and attracts more national support ($15 million). Isotopic methods are being applied as early predictors of the efficacy of the school breakfast programme in the Peruvian highlands and coastal region. Such techniques complement conventional long-term evaluations by quantifying the physiological effects of feeding programmes in terms of vitamin A, iron, immune status, and energy utilization for growth and activity. Evaluation of the programme has required a substantial education effort directed at school administrators, teachers, and to the children and their families.

51. El Salvador's development plans call for expanding electricity production through the further development of geothermal resources. About 14% of electric power is currently supplied by geothermal resources, and it is expected to reach 24% by year 2000. The Rio Lempa Executive Hydroelectric Commission (CEL) is an autonomous public service institution responsible for electricity production and development as well as for conservation, utilization and administration of energy resources. CEL's plans include exploration and exploitation activities in several geothermal fields financed by loans from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). This Model Project began in 1995 by helping to guide planning through isotope, geothermal and geochemical investigations in the areas of primary interest, Ahuachapan and Berlin. The information obtained is used to prepare hydrogeothermal models that are instrumental in drilling, production and injections and reservoir management.

52. The water supply deficit in the city of Caracas is expected to worsen each year due to the adverse climatic conditions, dependency on reservoir water and the rapid increase in population. Restricted distribution of water to several districts is now a common measure taken by the authorities each year to save water for the long dry season. The exploitation of the Caracas aquifer has been identified as the primary means for reducing the dependency on surface resources. However, proper management of this resource requires knowledge of the chemical and physical properties of the aquifer and groundwater dynamics.

53. The Model Project VEN/8/010 has focused on providing new information for the rational exploitation of the aquifer based on the availability and quality of groundwater. The construction of 50 new wells, (their location and design to be based on the results of the project) is planned or underway and it is expected that this new source of groundwater will contribute around 112,000 m3 per day or about 43% of the present shortage (260,000 m3 per day). The laboratory in charge of monitoring the quality of groundwater pumped from the Caracas aquifer is being upgraded in order to measure additional parameters and to guarantee that existing water quality criteria are met.

54. Uruguay's capability for the screening of neonatal hypothyroidism has been strengthened during the first year of the Model Project URU/6/022. Currently 60% of the newborns in Uruguay are tested. The programme is co-ordinated by the Nuclear Medicine Centre, responsible for processing about two-thirds of the 54,000 newborn blood-samples collected each year. The National Vaccination Programme is collaborating in the collection of samples from all over the country. The screening revealed four positive cases, which received appropriate treatment. It is expected that by 1996 the screening will cover nearly all newborn babies, thus contributing to a reduction in infant mortality and improvement in the quality of life.

55. Several Model-like projects were concluded in 1995. One established a human tissue bank in Argentina using ionizing radiation to sterilize tissues. Initiated in 1993, counterpart institutions included the Foundation Fortunato Benaim, where the bank is located, the National Commission of Atomic Energy and the Orthopaedic Department of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires. Skin and bone allografts are now available and can be safely used for the treatment of burn patients. Tissue donation and transplantation are now governed by law, and additional regulations are to be put in place in 1996 regarding transplant recipient procedures for the donation of grafts. The Tissue Bank was inaugurated by the President of Argentina on 1995-03-15.

56. Another notably successful project completed in 1995 was BRA/6/O12, at the Institute of Nuclear Energy and Research (IPEN) in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It established modern procedures for recombinant techniques to produce a number of primary reagents for RIA. This is the only laboratory in a developing country supported by IAEA that has successfully produced this material, which is being widely distributed to participating laboratories in Latin America and Africa at a fraction of the cost of comparative commercial sources.

57. Chile is the only country in South America that is internationally recognized as being free of Mediterranean fruit flies, and has developed a multi-billion dollar fruit export industry. Until recently however, Chilean fresh fruits were still excluded from certain markets, because of the fear of outbreaks originating from medflies in the Arica region in northern Chile next to Peru. The Chilean Agricultural Service, after a decade of unsuccessful attempts to eradicate medfly using insecticides in the region requested support from IAEA in 1990 to establish a SIT eradication programme. By 1993 a medfly mass rearing facility was built in Lluta, Arica, with a capacity to produce 60 million sterile flies per week. After considerable staff training and provision of expert services, sterile fly releases were initiated in Arica in late 1993. By mid-1995, these releases were expanded under a co-operative agreement signed between Chile and Peru to co-ordinate their actions against medfly in the valleys of southern Peru. As a result, no wild medflies have been detected in Arica since mid-1995, and in December 1995 Chile was formally declared a fly-free zone by international experts. According to the Chilean Minister of Agriculture this will mean an annual increase of $500 million in fruit exports over the next five years. Based on these successes, studies are being prepared to expand the Chile and Argentina SIT experience to other interested South American countries.

58. A regional project (RLA/2/O06) funded by Germany and the IAEA to foster environmental studies using nuclear techniques concluded in 1995 after strengthening capabilities in five countries (Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela). New analytical techniques were introduced and several types of research were carried out for the first time in areas of special interest to these countries. In Argentina's Rio de la Plata coastal zone, studies incorporating significant quality assurance procedures, including an intercomparison exercise, were carried out among the participating national institutes for the first time. In Chile, a complete characterization study of aerosol emissions was performed for the first time. In Ecuador, the effects of pesticide use on San Pablo lake and the surrounding area were described. A co-ordinated study of the effects of volcanic emissions was completed in Costa Rica involving aerosols, precipitations and gas studies. One of the most important results of the regional project was the development of co-operative arrangements between the countries that had improved implementation.

59. Within the Latin America Region, 11 countries have been invited to participate in the interregional Model Project on upgrading radiation and waste safety infrastructure, including: Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama (waste safety only) and Paraguay. A first draft work plan has been prepared for these countries focusing on priority activities with respect to the BSS. Discussions on workplans with the two national counterparts began in 1995, and it is expected that by mid-1996 all the first drafts will be approved by the proper national authorities. Progress was also made in addressing urgent and short-term radiation and waste safety issues in some target countries in Latin America, including the establishment of legal frameworks for the activities of national authorities.


60. The Third Phase of the ARCAL Programme began in 1995 and a number of measures were adopted to strengthen the Programme. Among these:

- Establishment of a new evaluation system for ARCAL projects featuring clear and precise procedures for appraising and implementing projects.

- Review of the Guidelines, Policies and Procedures of ARCAL to adapt them to the new requirements of the Programme including: greater application of the Model Project concept within ARCAL; clear identification of end-users in the ARCAL projects; stronger commitment of the national government authorities in the nuclear field; and increase in the responsibilities assigned to the National Co-ordinators in managing the Programme.

- Installation of a new management structure including the post of President and Vice-President of ARCAL, and special assistants to advise in technical matters related to new areas of co-operation within ARCAL and the revision of new project proposals.

- Review of ARCAL strategy and planning for short and medium term goals, to be adjusted to new directions in the technical co-operation programme.

61. The ARCAL programme includes a Model Project (RLA/6/027) to increase the utility and extend the life of existing nuclear medicine equipment in Latin America by upgrading old analogue gamma cameras and replacing nuclear medicine computer systems. Five gamma cameras were upgraded with interface cards during the year, and another 25 are scheduled for 1996. A regional workshop on image processing software is also scheduled for 1996. During the ALASBIMN Congress held in Brazil last October a special IAEA session on upgrading nuclear medicine practices was held to provide the public with information about the project's impact. During the session, promising results in upgrading nuclear medicine equipment, both hardware and software, were presented by Argentina, Cuba and Peru. Great interest was generated by a 20 year old gamma camera in Argentina which was discarded for the last eight years but could be successfully reconditioned under the system developed by the Agency. Another IAEA upgrade system involving Cuban interfacing units and Portable Image Processing (PIP) software was introduced and is now being tested in the region.

62. During 1995, the number of ARCAL projects was 14, with Agency resources reaching approximately US$ 1.8 million. At the end of the year four projects were completed.

3. East Asia and Pacific

63. Upstream work to improve the quality of the 1997-98 programme was assigned top priority during 1995. Special efforts were devoted to instituting Model Project and Workplan cultures by both Agency staff and national counterpart staff. Moreover, the need for higher quality project proposals was highlighted through the "fewer but better" objective. Member States were strongly encouraged to incorporate Model Project features into project designs and, where possible, to introduce end-user orientation and emphasize socio-economic impact. Member States were most co-operative in reducing their submissions for 1997-98 with the understanding that fewer but better proposals will not reduce the (financial) volume of the Agency programme.

64. National manpower development projects initiated in the 1993-94 cycle for each Member State were expanded to include a modest expert component along with provisions for spare parts/reagents etc. so that needs could be more efficiently met without formulation of a full project. This has proven to be an effective mechanism because it has provided the Agency with the flexibility to respond promptly to unforeseen requirements of a Member State.

65. Strengthening the Workplan culture was the critical element in project planning. Nearly 90% of the project counterparts submitted up-dated Workplans along with the six-month progress reports, which became mandatory during the 1995-96 cycle. National workshops on project design, management and evaluation were organized in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, during which participants reviewed and discussed current TC policy. Such workshops have strengthened the communications between the Agency and Member States and prepared project counterparts to respond better to Agency programming and thematic priorities. As a result, considerable improvements were visible in the quality of TC project proposals submitted by Sri Lanka and Myanmar and implementation of country activities also advanced noticeably.

66. As a follow-up to the 1994 Policy Review Seminar, Medium-Term Country Plans were received from all Member States in the Region. Missions were necessary for the Philippines and Vietnam to prepare CPFs, while CPFs were formulated for Mongolia and Myanmar on the basis of Country Programme Review missions conducted during 1993 and 1994. These efforts were followed-up with specific programming missions e.g. in the Philippines, on geothermal hydrology, and in Vietnam to investigate the feasibility of a nuclear power programme.

67. To enable quantification of project impacts, performance indicators were established for all Model Projects. The following milestones were reached during the year under on-going Model Projects:

- In Bangladesh, under the project "Biofertilizers for Increased Legume Production", the Agricultural Extension Department of the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Bangladesh Institute for Nuclear Agriculture (BINA) trained more than five hundred block supervisors at 12 regional centers across the country. Each block supervisor in turn trained 5 farmers. In total, some 2500 farmers received training in the use of biofertilizer during the year.

- In Mongolia, under the project "Upgrading Radiation Therapy Services", a new teletherapy machine was installed in the State Oncological Research Center in Ulan Bator in August 1995. Since then about 2500 cancer patients have been treated. Four radiotherapists and medical physicists have received training abroad.

- In China, under the project "Production of Gel-Tc99m Generators for Nuclear Medicine", the in-cell equipment for the production of gel-generator was designed, manufactured, tested and installed in the upgraded hot cells. The laboratory for assembling gel-generator is currently being upgraded to a clean room to comply with standards of Good Manufacturing Practices, and a new production line with a capacity of 150-200 gel-generators per month has been established. Whereas several performance characteristics of the gel-generator have been improved, these are still being subjected to clinical trials in 100 nuclear medicine centers in China.

- Under the other Model Project in China "Industrial Scale Irradiation of Rice and Other Foodstuffs", the construction of the Irradiation Center, including the experimental building, irradiation room and storage hall, was completed in June 1995 and the cobalt-60 source loaded in October. In order to promote public acceptance of irradiated food, a video cassette entitled - "Food Irradiation in China" was prepared, and telecast throughout the country.

- Under the Model Project in Sri Lanka entitled "Radiation Sterilization of Human Tissue for Transplantation", a human tissue bank was established in 1995 with a budget of $375,000. Amnion tissues for burn dressing and bone allografts are being distributed to public and private hospitals. The current capacity to prepare and irradiate amnion tissues is about 350 pieces per month while current local needs are estimated at 200 per month. The excess amnion tissues will be donated to other countries in the region. Sri Lanka currently spends an average of $200,000 per year on imported tissue grafts. Savings of an equivalent amount can be expected as a direct economic benefit to the country, in addition to the benefits derived from donated tissue.

68. Counterparts of all Model Projects were invited to share experience in the National Workshop on TC Project Management, Design and Evaluation in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in March 1995. Similarly, five participants from Korea, India and Pakistan were invited to attend a National Seminar on Systematic Approach to Personnel Training and Qualification for Safe Operation of NPPs in Shenzhen, China.

69. In accordance with the guidance of the 1994 Policy Review Seminar, projects relating to radiation protection and waste safety infrastructure were given a high priority in the region's TC programme. Ten relevant national projects and a large regional project under RCA were co-ordinated with the interregional Model Project on radiation and waste safety. All Member States in the region completed radiation protection questionnaires prepared by the Technical Division (NENS). This questionnaire assisted the Agency to update its assessment on the status of radiation protection infrastructure in the countries.

70. Within the TC programme for East Asia and the Pacific, 18 national projects were operational in radiation protection and waste management, in addition to activities carried out under the Regional RCA project. Sri Lanka has been assisted under the interregional Model Project on Radiation Protection since 1994. Beginning in 1996, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Myanmar and Viet Nam will also participate. Action plans have been finalized for all five countries

71. Substantial technical assistance was provided to the four countries in the region with active nuclear power programmes: China, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Republic of Korea.

- The UNDP project "Manpower Development for Safe Operation of Nuclear Power Plants (NPP)" has been operational in China since 1993. A national seminar on systematic approaches to personnel training and qualification was organized last year with five participants from other developing countries with operational NPPs. Sixteen fellows under the project were trained through two group training activities arranged at the training centres/facilities in the Republic of Korea. Such support to regional training activities has made the Republic of Korea a leading source for TCDC.

- Several multiple expert missions were fielded to Indonesia under an umbrella project, "Support for the First Nuclear Power Plant" to investigate various aspects of NPP siting. Some siting issues remain to be resolved and further assistance may be required.

- Priority activities in Pakistan included energy and nuclear power planning, operational safety of the Karachi NPP (KANUPP) and design review, site evaluation and safety aspects of the Chashma nuclear power plant. A number of workshops on root-cause analysis and trip reduction techniques, severe accident analysis, fault tree analysis, upgrading of instrumentation and control were held at KANUPP during the year. Missions were fielded to advise on the Probabilistic Safety Assessment (PSA) of the 300 Mwe Chasma NPP.

- A mission was organized to the Republic of Korea to review safety aspects in the design of the Ulchin NPP units 3 and 4 (UCN3/4). The two identical 1000 MWe PWRs are being constructed by Korea Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) at a site alongside the French designed units 1 & 2. The UCN 3 and 4 plants will serve as reference plants for all subsequent PWR units to be built in Korea up to the year 2006.

72. The Thai Ministry of Health requested the Agency to conduct a national workshop on neonatal screening, which was undertaken in April 1995. The workshop was inaugurated and attended by the Minister of Health, who expressed a strong Government commitment to establishing a nation-wide programme whereby all newborn children in Thailand (800,000 per year) would be screened by the year 2000. The mass production of reagents will enable 1,800,000 screening tests per year by the year 2000, and will be supported through an ongoing project.

73. For the first time, the programme for East Asia and Pacific included three regional projects outside the RCA, two in agriculture and one in nuclear power. One of the projects builds on the success of an earlier UNDP project in Indonesia to develop multi-nutrient supplementation feed blocks using locally available resources in order to increase the milk and meat production from ruminant livestock. Demonstration trials have been initiated in the eight participating Member States, with Indonesia transferring the 'know-how' in the true spirit of TCDC.

74. Considering the importance and potential of geothermal energy to at least three countries of the region (China, Indonesia and Philippines), efforts continued to formulate a regional project to exploit opportunities. A UNDP Sectoral Support Mission was fielded to the Philippines in March 1995 to further develop the project concept, which is supported by Japan and New Zealand. Geothermal development activities in the Philippines have also been supported by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) under a $30 million project and by a World Bank loan for development of geothermal areas. In view of the expertise it has acquired through the years from Agency assistance in isotope hydrology, the Philippines is now in a unique position to support regional efforts as a provider of technical "know-how".

75. A Reserve Fund Project entitled "Radiological Aspects of the Rehabilitation of Bikini Atoll" was established to review the prevalent conditions. The project aimed to investigate if the Atoll could indeed be reinhabitable in a way that is consistent with the philosophy of radiation protection. A report will be forthcoming in 1996.


76. The East Asia and Pacific region now has a good basis for increased regional development co-operation. During 1995, the Regional Co-operative Agreement (RCA) for Asia and the Pacific continued to facilitate such dynamism within the region through the mechanism of Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries (TCDC). TCDC was prominent in RCA programmes, as was evident from the wide participation of other countries in national events in the region.

77. Contributions from Member States during the year exceeded $1 million for the first time. Substantial contributions from Australia and Japan supported the multi-million dollar UNDP/RCA/IAEA project on "The Use of Isotopes and Radiation to Strengthen Technology and Support Environmentally Sustainable Development", which is helping to develop the Region's capacity to use practical problem-solving techniques in industry and the environment. This project has been particularly successful in promoting the transfer of non-destructive evaluation technologies to the private sector. A variety of techniques have been applied in fields as diverse as the petro-chemical industry and air transportation sector, public safety and protecting the environment.

78. The success of the UNDP/RCA/IAEA collaboration follows an earlier project to increase the use of nuclear technology in regional industries and encourage regional industrial competitiveness. Last year this project was one of 10 selected by the Joint Inspection Unit, an independent investigatory body of the UN, to compare field level impacts and results of UN sponsored intercountry projects in the region. It was rated number one in the evaluation with a score of 96 out of 100 points; one of the best reviews ever made for a project in the field of science and technology. The commitment of national counterparts and the readiness of participating Governments to collaborate actively with the private sector were identified as particular strengths, and the RCA network of co-operating Member States was described as a "model" for TCDC.

79. Since 1993, the Agency has invested considerable resources in helping RCA Member States develop a curriculum for training operators of tissue banks. National Co-ordinators from 15 Member States have contributed to the development of a draft curriculum addressing the key training needs of the Region. It also incorporates training by open learning (also called distance learning) methods, which have been successfully applied in nuclear medicine and radiation protection as part of Australia's contribution to the RCA. The programme culminated in September 1995 in Singapore with a successful workshop. Local production of bone allografts for surgical transplantation have already saved the region approximately 1 million dollars, and thus the cost of the RCA project has already been returned through economic and health care benefits for the region.

4. West Asia

80. A new Section was established in 1995 to be responsible for the TC programming in countries in the Middle East and Central Asia. Many of these countries were either new Member States or had recently started technical co-operation activities with the Agency. Substantial upstream work was undertaken in 1995, including the preparation of three CPFs that required missions to Kazakstan, Lebanon and Uzbekistan to understand country needs better. In view of the above situation, regional project activities were expanded to introduce the new entrants to a variety of Agency programmes and to provide them with effective fora for learning from other Member States. Individual requirements of Member States were addressed through a wide range of country projects.

81. The regional project mechanism was often used to consolidate miscellaneous manpower development requests for expert services and training from Member States. In several cases, it was possible to use regional experts to facilitate technical co-operation between countries. The strategy of using regional expertise for training events is being actively pursued. Greater use of manpower development projects is envisaged, as Member States gain experience in identifying their training needs systematically.

82. One important initiative in 1995 was the launching of the regional Model Project "Support to Rinderpest Surveillance in West Asia". Rinderpest is a contagious and deadly disease in cattle caused by a virus related to measles in humans. When it first reached Africa in the late 1890s it killed more than 90% of the continent's cattle. Outbreaks continue to occur periodically as rinderpest remains the largest global threat to livestock. In the 11 participating countries of West Asia there are some 60 million cattle. The objective of this Model Project is to help build regional capacity and upgrade analytical laboratories by supplying equipment, training and expertise, so that each of the countries can conduct serum monitoring and surveillance essential for rinderpest eradication. In March 1995, the first Co-ordination Meeting under the project was held in Damascus. Specialists from six Member States elaborated a workplan to establish and co-ordinate the sero-monitoring and surveillance in support of their national vaccination programmes to eradicate rinderpest.

83. In food and agriculture, the experience gained through earlier regional projects was extended to studies on water balance and nutrient delivery methods for crop improvement, especially in arid and semi-arid zones. The follow-up project combined field demonstrations on the application of these techniques with technical lectures. Participating countries carried out field experiments and were supported through expert advice and minor items of equipment. Eight countries in the region participated in a regional workshop in Turkey.

84. Two new regional projects in human health began in 1995. One promotes the screening of newborns for thyroid deficiencies in the six participating countries. The Agency has been concentrating on developing one central laboratory in each country with the capability of establishing and validating the required methodology. The second regional project supports maintenance and quality control of nuclear medicine equipment. The project planning meeting for the second project was held in Iran with the participation of representatives from Jordan, Kuwait, Kazakstan, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and the host country. Participants presented reports on the status of radiotherapy and nuclear medicine centers within the region and identified major problems with the maintenance, operation and quality control of equipment. An action plan was drawn up for the next stage of the project, which will improve the capabilities of these Member States through training and the upgrading of equipment.

85. A preparatory study was initiated in 1995 under a regional project to address the consequences for the riparian countries of the rise of water level of the Caspian Sea. The complexity and magnitude of the problem requires a collective effort by several UN agencies. A workshop was organized with the co-sponsorship of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO) in Paris, including participants from all the affected countries. The workshop discussed and updated information on the infrastructure available to investigate this problem. During the year, the Agency organized a three-week study cruise on the Caspian Sea that provided training on sampling techniques, measurement of various hydrological and chemical parameters and interpretation of data. Participants from Iran, Kazakstan, the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan took part in the event. The sample data will form the basis for future analysis of this problem, including a larger second phase investigation of the Caspian Sea possible under the footnote-a/ project RAW/8/005.

86. A workshop was organized in Amman to study energy options using IAEA planning methodologies. Participants from Iran, Jordan, Kazakstan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia exchanged experience in the general field of energy and electricity planning and the usefulness of IAEA methodologies for the conduct of national studies. The participants made recommendations for enhancement of the IAEA planning models under review. This project could help the participating Member States in decision making relating to future national energy and electricity systems and the role of nuclear energy.

87. In radiation safety the Agency continued to assist Member States, in particular the new ones, in upgrading their national radiation protection infrastructures. Regional project RAW/9/003 aims to bring national standards up to the level of the Agency Basic Safety Standards for protection against ionizing radiation and for the safety of radiation sources. The project was planned and approved prior to the interregional Model Project in the same field, but is co-ordinated closely with it.

88. In West Asia, a regional workshop was held in Beirut to present the essential elements of establishing and maintaining adequate national radiation protection infrastructure commensurate with applications of ionizing radiation. Participants from Iran, Jordan, Kazakstan, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen attended. The workshop served to update the current information on these countries and thereby identify areas for further technical support. Although this particular workshop was organized under a regional project, the participants also were briefed on key features of the Agency's Model Project on upgrading radiation and waste safety infrastructure. INT/9/143. An agreement was reached between Lebanon and the IAEA to locate the office of the Model Project's Regional Co-ordinator in Beirut. This office will be responsible for the co-ordination and harmonization between all ongoing national, regional and interregional activities in countries of East and West Asia and prevent duplication of efforts.

89. Nine West Asian countries have been invited to participate in the interregional safety project: Afghanistan, Kazakstan, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen and Kyrgyzstan (pending membership) . While some of these Member States have received technical assistance on some aspects of radiation protection and waste safety, others are new and have not had such projects. These Member States are at varying levels of radiation protection and safety infrastructure development and therefore require greater assessment and elaboration to develop specific action plans. Draft action plans have now been prepared for all countries in the region and will be finalized in consultation with the concerned Member States.

90. In addition to these regional events, specific requirements for radiation protection and waste management were provided under national projects. As a consequence of Iran's decision to revive the Bushehr NPP with the WWER-1000 technology, technical assistance was requested on safety issues such as seismic site studies, plant safety features, quality assurance (QA) and project organization. Outside experts prepared comprehensive reports and recommendations which were sent to Iran for review. A sizeable manpower development programme on nuclear power safety and applications was initiated in support of the above activities.

91. Substantial progress was achieved in the final stages of establishing the miniature neutron source reactor (MNSR) facility in Syria. Completion of the building and installation of equipment were accomplished by the end of the year and the commissioning is expected early in 1996. In Kazakstan, a number of safety upgrading measures for the WWR-K research reactor were implemented and the re-commissioning of this major facility at the National Centre was planned for the first half of 1996. The continued importance of strengthening radiation and nuclear safety infrastructure in Kazakstan was confirmed by the CPF mission. Seismic safety-related technical advice was provided to Uzbekistan with respect to its operational research reactor.

92. After converting to LEU fuel, the research reactor in Iran operated smoothly in 1995 and the draft of the safety analysis report for the reactor was completed and reviewed. Recommendations were provided to Iran for preparing the final version. Iran's cyclotron became operational and production of radioisotopes Ga-67 and Tl-201 began for use in medicine. The production of other medical radioisotopes is under development. The equipment for isotope processing was delivered and installed, and expert advice was provided for its operation. Further progress was made in industrial applications of radioisotopes and their use was extended to the oil industry. A leak detection experiment on oil pipelines was successfully performed.

93. Syria made substantial progress in the operation of an irradiation facility for the sterilization of medical goods. In addition, a Co-60 source of 10 kCi was delivered for use in studies on seed mutation and the sterile insect technique. A Co-60 source was also supplied to Jordan for research and demonstration on the sterilization of medical supplies and food preservation. These efforts have established a good technical basis for the future production of radioisotopes and for radiation technology applications in sterilization and crop mutation in these two countries.

5. Europe

94. Many countries in the region are new Member States of the Agency or have experienced economic or political transitions which adversely affected the institutions and organizations involved in nuclear technology. This situation creates great demand for Agency assistance. A number of new ideas were introduced to improve the management and delivery of TC activities. The new initiatives and approaches were introduced to the region both through direct communications and workshops.

95. Eleven Country Programme Frameworks (CPFs) were under preparation during 1995 and four missions were carried out to assess or validate programme planning assumptions. CPF planning, pre-project expert missions and Area Office/counterpart visits were all part of the Section's upstream work to facilitate project preparation for the 1997/98 programme. Two special "TC Management Workshops" were also organized in 1995, and proved successful in providing both the Agency and the participating countries with new tools to enhance communications and improve project identification, formulation, implementation and evaluation.

96. Although the scope of efforts underway in this region is broad, the primary objective of the on-going programme was improving radiation and waste safety. Significant radiation and waste safety problems remain to be resolved in many recipient Member States in Europe. Although there are several well established nuclear regulatory organizations, responsibilities for radiation protection are generally dispersed and clear control is not always established. Therefore, a major activity in Europe under the Interregional Model Projects INT/9/143 and INT/9/144 was preparation of detailed studies of the present radiation protection and waste safety infrastructure in 13 European recipient states. Albania has been assisted under the interregional Model Project on Radiation Protection since 1994. During 1995, 10 additional countries were invited to participate in the interregional safety project: Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia and Moldova (pending membership). Action plans to address the deficient infrastructure components have been completed for each country. Assistance will commence pending approval of the plans by the respective governments.

97. One major TC initiative in 1995 addressed safety concerns in operating nuclear power plants constructed to earlier safety standards. Under RER/9/035 "Support for Nuclear Safety in Central and Eastern Europe", pressing safety concerns were identified and ranked according to their impact on plant safety. These data were then used to review the adequacy of improvement measures proposed and implemented in countries operating Water Cooled and Moderated Reactors (WWERs). Because these countries depend extensively on electricity produced by NPPs, phasing out even the older designs has major socio-economic consequences. This regional TC project also assisted 10 Member States in strengthening their capabilities for safety assessment of NPPs and is facilitating technical exchange in the Region. Activities in 1995 included: preparation of guidelines, peer reviews, assistance in evaluating plant safety improvements; organization of topical meetings to consolidate knowledge and consensus on actions needed to resolve generic safety issues; maintaining the IAEA technical database on safety issues; and providing operational safety services (ASSET, ASCOT, OSART). Safety services funded by this TC project were carried out in Armenia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Ukraine. Most of the countries receiving assistance confirmed that the programme's results were very beneficial both to NPP operators and regulators.

98. Among the areas warranting special attention was the role of regulatory bodies in European recipient countries. In co-operation with the European Union's (EU) Regulatory Assistance Management Group (RAMG), exploratory missions were sent to several recipients in Europe under the regional TC project RER/9/023 - "Strengthening Nuclear Safety Regulatory Bodies". One important management objective has been to ensure that the IAEA's activities did not duplicate other assistance. This was accomplished through close co-ordination with the G-24 Nuclear Safety Assistance Co-ordinating Centre. Within the framework of this project, the first co-ordinating and programming meeting of the regulatory bodies was held in April 1994 in Kiev, Ukraine, to assess the status and identify the needs and priorities for assistance. The success of the Agency' co-ordination role has attracted EU, G-24 and other donors, and resulted in the full endorsement of the project's objectives by recipient countries. By the end of 1995, three regional training courses, three regional workshops and one national workshop were held. These events drew some 133 participants from twelve countries in the region.

99. Other important nuclear safety activities included a project in Romania, ROM/9/007 "Licensing of Cernavoda NPP", which contributed to strengthening the Romanian National Regulatory Body (CNCAN). CNCAN completed a draft Nuclear Law, which was approved by the Parliament's lower chamber in October 1995 and is now under review in the Senate. It is expected to be enacted during autumn 1996. The commissioning license of the first NPP unit was issued in 1995. In addition, a comprehensive high level training programme for staff of the regulatory body was carried out to keep up with the licensing requirements of the NPP.

100. The Model Project in Slovakia, SLR/9/005 "Strengthening Nuclear Regulatory Body" has been highly successful. The counterpart is the Slovak Nuclear Regulatory Authority (SNRA), which was appointed to elaborate an Atomic Act and facilitate the approval procedures by Parliament. The advice given during the expert missions led SNRA to develop an effective internal structure covering all of its duties. Similarly, expert advice enabled SNRA to establish a set of internal procedures, inspection guidelines and a programme for inspection activities. An internal training organization was introduced, and a draft internal training programme was developed. SNRA has become a mature and efficient regulatory body and is now preparing a comprehensive report on the state of safety of nuclear installations in the country, identifying the significant safety actions it has taken.

101. Ukraine's newly restructured regulatory authority will soon introduce international standards in radiation protection, nuclear safety and waste management as a result of assistance provided under UKR/9/006 - "Upgrading Nuclear Regulatory Capability", which began in 1995. To augment technical backstopping, it was decided to utilize the experience gained by the Slovak Nuclear Regulatory Authority from its Model Project SLR/9/005. As a result of a fact finding mission by Slovak experts, a comprehensive work plan was proposed for UKR/9/006. Subsequently, in agreement with the Ukrainian authority, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the IAEA and the Slovak Nuclear Regulatory Authority was drafted to cover the implementation of the proposed project activities through subcontracts. This approach provides new opportunity for implementing certain TC projects: the subcontractor, normally a well qualified institution in the same region, is responsible for implementation and progress reporting to the Agency. This concept, which will further TCDC objectives in the region, is also being applied to other projects in Europe involving, experienced institutions in Croatia, Romania and Hungary.

102. The Hungarian Model Project, HUN/9/019 "Strengthening Training for Operational Safety at Paks NPP" is a complex multi-year undertaking involving several institutions and an investment of over $10 million, including Agency inputs (both TCF and extrabudgetary contributions from Japan, Spain, and the US) and contributions from the European Union within the scope of the PHARE regional programme. One of the major achievements of the project was the introduction of a Systematic Approach to the Training (SAT) of NPP personnel. SAT is an accepted international practice for achieving competence and as a mechanism for providing cost-effective and efficient training with inherent quality assurance and competence assessment. Within the framework of SAT, several seminars were held at Paks with the participation of international experts. The maintenance training centre was the component requiring the largest financial inputs. The acquisition of WWER main components was achieved ahead of schedule with a cost-effective supply contract. In view of this success, additional contributions through the PHARE programme were approved in 1995 and were fully co-ordinated with the Agency's inputs.

103. The Agency began assisting Bulgaria in the seismic evaluation and upgrading of the Kozloduy NPP in 1991. The findings of the safety review missions became the basis for a comprehensive seismic upgrading programme at Units 1 and 2. With the provision of additional funds from the IAEA and the USA, BUL/9/012 "Site and Seismic Safety of Nuclear Power Plant" was extended through the 1995-96 technical co-operation cycle. Westinghouse Energy Systems Europe was subcontracted under the project to perform a preliminary walkdown at the plant, and to assess the seismic capacity of safe shutdown systems and components, including the structures of the buildings' housing systems and components. As a result of this preliminary work, the plant was judged to have seismic vulnerabilities similar to those in many US nuclear plants prior to the seismic upgrading programme of the late 1970s.

104. The IAEA's recommended that substantial improvements to seismic safety be accomplished by simple, relatively inexpensive modifications and improvements. On the basis of these findings and other work carried out by Bulgaria, the terms of reference for the design of the seismic upgrading of Kozloduy Units 1 and 2 were elaborated by the Bulgarian authority and World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) with assistance from the IAEA. These terms of reference were used to obtain substantial financing from the European Union to complete the seismic upgrading . The project has demonstrated that international seismic safety standards can be applied to Soviet era WWER type reactors.

105. The radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl accident in 1986 resulted in widespread contamination of the region. In addition to the direct exposure of the population, substantial amounts of radionuclides contaminated agricultural lands and found their way into the food chain. A TC project, UKR/9/007 "Reduction of Radionuclides in Human Food" was initiated to advise on ways to reduce the internal dose to the population through control of radionuclides. The Ukraine Government was particularly interested in the feasibility of producing milk free from radionuclide contaminants, mainly caesium (Cs-137) and strontium (Sr-90). Moreover, the need for clean milk was emphasized by the Ministry of Food because it should provide clean baby food products for the region's 1.5 million children. The project's main counterpart and end-user is the Ovruch Milk Canning Plant located 80 km west of Chernobyl and the beneficiaries will be a large number of the local population.

106. During 1995, two expert missions concluded that it was technically feasible to remove the radionuclides from milk and to control the public doses through a careful control and monitoring programme. Consequently, the plant decided to apply technology developed by a US company for magnetic removal of caesium and strontium from milk, water, fruit juices and soft drinks through particles coated with specific absorbers. In November the US agreed to finance the installation of this facility on a bilateral basis. The Agency has been asked by the Ukrainian Government to monitor the performance of this technology and to provide gamma-monitoring equipment, low level scintillation counters and wet chemistry equipment as well as training and expert services. In addition, quality assurance support will be provided to ensure international credibility of the analytical data generated. These activities have received a high priority in the Ukraine and have also attracted international press attention.

107. In Belarus, about 23% of the total agricultural land is contaminated by radionuclides originating from the Chernobyl accident and one third of it is so severely contaminated that it is not considered sufficiently safe to produce crops. A TC project, BYE/5/002 "Rapeseed Cultivation on Soils Contaminated by Radionuclides", was initiated in 1995 to follow up on previous research in the country which had shown that a portion of the contaminated soils was suitable for diversified cultivation of oil seed crops used for industrial applications in the energy sector. The initial studies during 1995 showed that through comprehensive radioactivity monitoring and the use of agronomic and agro-radiological criteria, it was possible to select varieties of rape-seed that could be grown on medium to highly contaminated soils with the minimum uptake of radionuclides. These successful results prompted the Government to request the IAEA's assistance in a second phase study of industrial processing of oil-seeds for the production of bio-lubricants and related products. As a result of these efforts, the European Union is interested in helping to finance industrialization and socio-economic studies.

108. The Black Sea is one of the most contaminated marine environments in the world. TC is playing a major role in assisting Member States bordering the Black Sea to apply tracer techniques, assess marine environmental pollution, and upgrade analytical techniques for radionuclides in marine samples. The project, RER/2/003 - "Marine Environmental Assessment of the Black Sea", is being implemented with the participation of Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. The national governments of these countries, have committed themselves to a regional approach for the management and protection of the marine environment, which is supported by co-ordinated marine research activities at the national level, in collaboration with the Agency's Marine Environmental Laboratory in Monaco. In view of the Governments' commitment to these activities, several international organizations have also initiated assistance programmes. The Global Environmental Facility (GEF), administered by World Bank, UNDP and UNEP, approved a large scale project of assistance.

109. Burning poor quality coal in conventional power plants releases millions of tons of SO2 and NOx into the atmosphere in many European countries. In view of the advantages offered by the electron beam (EB) purification of flue gases (simultaneous removal of SO2 and NOx and recycling of by-products as fertilizer), the Agency is advancing the application of this technique in several developing countries by assisting Member States to carry out feasibility studies for introducing EB technology. In September 1995, a meeting was organized in Vienna to review the status of this technology in developing countries and exchange information on its application, particularly the experience of Poland's Model Project (POL/8/014) for the construction of an industrial demonstration EB plant at the Pomorzany power station (Szczecin). Twenty participants from Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Thailand, Turkey, and Ukraine participated. The conclusion was that the Model Project had made significant contributions in terms of furthering the understanding of EB technology and its applications. Three countries in the region (Bulgaria, Turkey and Ukraine), now have active programmes related to EB technology and the Ukraine has already started the construction of an industrial plant with assistance from the Agency under UKR/8/003. Two feasibility studies are also underway in Bulgaria and Turkey.

110. As a result of management changes at Pomorzany plant in early 1995, the project was almost cancelled when the new management became concerned over economic and technical risks. A high level meeting in Vienna with Polish counterparts and international experts produced a contingency plan with well defined steps. Further meetings and discussions involving the Prime Minister, the Deputy Foreign Minister, the President of the National Atomic Energy Agency and the Pomorzany management during the period May- September 1995, led to full resolution of all internal questions. During his statement to the 39th General Conference, the President of the Polish NAEA announced that the Model Project would go ahead as planned. The tripartite supply contract for high power electron accelerators was finalized and signed shortly afterwards. On the basis of the existing schedule, the electron beam plant should be operational by October 1998.

111. A new initiative began in 1995 that could contribute to enhanced food quality and safety by reducing the large scale use of insecticides. The Government of the Autonomous Region of Madeira in Portugal has an economic interest in controlling the Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly), a pest that causes tremendous losses to fruit production. A study of fruit growing on Madeira Island concluded that eradication of the medfly using the sterile insect technique (SIT) was a feasible method to ensure the continued expansion of fruit production and to reduce the large scale use of insecticides. The project POR/5/005 - "Mediterranean Fruit Fly Programme" was established to implement the SIT solution. The Agency is providing the technical backstopping to design a mass-rearing facility, including quality control equipment, field monitoring, control and release activities, training, maintenance and field operations. Overall project management is the responsibility of the Agency in co-operation with the counterpart.

112. A mass-rearing facility for the medfly on Madeira would be the first facility of its kind in Europe and North Africa. Financing for the construction of a fly rearing facility, with a capacity to supply 50 million sterile flies each week, has been approved by the European Union. As part of the project's activities, site selection and final design of the facility were concluded in the first quarter and construction was initiated in July 1995. Eradication of the medfly from Madeira would prevent annual losses of about $3 million. It would also significantly reduce pesticide use in agriculture, and contribute to the expansion of subtropical fruit production, already a leading sector of the island's economy.

6. Interregional

113. Three types of interregional TC projects were operational in 1995:

- activities related to programme management and project development;

- interregional training courses on specialized topics; and

- projects in areas such as safety, that warrant a global approach.

114. The Agency participates in the Board of the International Science Program (ISP) of the Uppsala University, Sweden, which assists in enhancing the research capacity of developing countries. As in TC projects, this is done through the exchange of scientists, post-graduate education in physics/chemistry and provision of equipment. In many cases ISP works with the same countries and TC project counterparts. During 1995, co-operation activities with ISP were strengthened in the area of fellowship training through the so-called "sandwich programme" in which Agency fellows receive advanced training both in the fellow's country and in Sweden under the supervision of the ISP. Fellows from TC are already benefitting from this programme. Furthermore, ISP may in future assist the Agency in implementing certain projects where both institutions are already involved. Similar strengthening is being achieved with the International Centre for Theoretical Physics - Office of External Activities (ICTP - OEA) which has the same types of assistance to developing countries, and where the Agency chairs the Committee on External Activities (IAEA, ICTP-TWAS, UNESCO).

115. Pre-project assistance and programme reviews focused on the objectives defined at the 1994 Policy Review Seminar, including development of Model Project type projects and country programme frameworks (CPF). Nine out of twenty programme review missions carried out in 1995 aimed at helping to prepare CPF documents. Thirteen pre-project missions covered high impact activities, such as human communicable diseases in Kenya.

116. The list of training courses approved by the DG reflected a dedicated effort to consolidate interregional courses with other TC activities on the national and regional level, and to see that these corresponded with coherent sectoral planning. In the past, interregional training courses often covered too wide an array of issues and were not sufficiently integrated with other TC activities.

117. In 1995, 17 interregional training courses were conducted on subjects of interest to a large number of developing countries. Ten were devoted to nuclear power and safety, including issues such as electricity demand forecasting for nuclear power planning, nuclear power project management, operational safety of nuclear reactors and interim storage of spent fuel. The balance of the courses were devoted to the application of isotopes and radiation techniques in agriculture and nuclear medicine, and to experimental nuclear spectroscopy and nuclear electronics. A total of 472 specialists from developing countries participated in these courses.

118. Two workshops and fourteen expert missions were carried out during the year under project INT/9/122 which assists in siting and seismic review of research and power reactors. Under this project expert missions were sent to Bulgaria (seismic safety of Kozloduy units 5/6), Croatia (NPP site selection criteria), Hungary (seismic safety review of PAKS NPP), Turkey (seismic safety issues activity plan for Akkuyu NPP and planning of infrastructure for NPP programme), Argentina (advisory mission on full scale testing of NPPs), Egypt (seismic safety of Inshas research reactor), Uzbekistan (seismic safety review of Ulughbek WWR research reactor) and Morocco (site safety review of the Sidi Boulbra NPP site). As a result, specific recommendations concerning the upgrading of the seismic safety of the above reactors were provided leading to greater safety of these nuclear installations

119. During the year, efforts began to articulate a broad based interregional approach for monitoring and controlling rinderpest in Africa and West Asia. Pre-emptive actions are needed in many parts of the world where there is little knowledge of the disease. Such work can only be done where national authorities have access to good laboratory facilities. A new project proposal is now being formulated using laboratories already established by the Agency. The objective is to enhance support for the surveillance of rinderpest by consolidating the various regional and national efforts under one project. If approved by the Board the project could be included in the 97/98 TC Programme. This project is in support of the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme (GREP) co-ordinated by FAO.

120. A review of the Model Project on upgrading radiation and waste safety infrastructure in early 1995 concluded that while the basic concepts were sound, the organization, management and planned actions (calling for activities in five to six countries each year) would not achieve the objectives within the duration of the project (1994-2000). The information gathered for country profiles indicated that 53 countries, far more than originally estimated, needed substantive improvements in their radiation and waste safety infrastructures to meet BSS requirements. Implementation would have to be accelerated significantly and a systematic action plan would be necessary if the required infrastructures were to be in place before the end of the century.

121. Further analysis found that a more effective system of management accountability and responsibility for objectives would be essential to achieving BSS requirements in all Member States by the year 2000. Given the common nature of the safety culture in most Member States, it was also determined that greater efficiency and effectiveness could be achieved by consolidating all safety related activities into one project. Such an integrated approach called for co-ordinated and centralized management, and simultaneous implementation in all countries requiring infrastructure support. It also required greater national self-reliance and involvement from the outset of implementation. Two new management components would be essential to make the new system successful: a clearly identifiable single focal point for the entire effort, and a firm commitment to time-limited objectives.

122. This approach establishes global thematic planning in TC for the first time: it institutes a sectoral objective (upgrading safety infrastructure) in some 53 countries not yet meeting the BSS; it includes a comprehensive assessment of national infrastructure in all regions; and it commits to a time-limited action plan to meet country requirements. The new management system offers greater efficiency and effectiveness by introducing field management/experts to monitor and support in-country activities. Operationally, the new system reduces redundancies and enhances the predictability of project achievements by establishing a firm implementation schedule and full budgetary requirements. Equally important, it creates a clear delineation of responsibilities between the TC Department, the Safety Department and national counterpart institutions, thus providing greater accountability for the project management structure and lines of authority.

123. Three interregional projects, the "Basic Safety Standards" (INT/9/055), "Radioactive Waste Management" (INT/9/011) and "Emergency Preparedness and Planning" (INT/9/124) were completed in 1995 as part of a consolidation of these activities into two interregional Model Projects on radiation protection and waste safety infrastructure, and waste management (INT/9/143 and INT/9/144). The 36 RAPAT and 29 WAMAP missions undertaken during these projects helped to develop infrastructure ratings that form the basis for the two interregional Model Projects.

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