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A Need for ReNuAL

The IAEA’s Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications (NA) manages eight laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria that deliver technical assistance to Member States in the areas of food and agriculture, human health, the environment and the development and use of nuclear scientific instruments. As such, they are essential to the Agency’s efforts to help Member States achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Since the laboratories opened in 1962, the number of IAEA Member States has more than doubled.  This has led to a significant increase in Member State requests for assistance from the laboratories. Member States’ needs are also evolving as new challenges have emerged. The laboratories, however, have never received a comprehensive renovation or upgrading of equipment, and as a result they now struggle to meet the demands of Member States. Recognizing this, the IAEA and its Member States decided to modernize the NA laboratories in Seibersdorf to ensure their ongoing ability to respond effectively to these demands in the years to come.

The modernization began in 2014 with the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories (ReNuAL) project, which consists of new building construction to provide new space to some of the laboratories, the acquisition of new laboratory equipment and infrastructure upgrades. ReNuAL is fully funded and scheduled for completion by mid-2018. The follow-up to ReNuAL, ReNuAL Plus (ReNuAL+), began in 2017 and will provide for additional construction, targeted refurbishment of the remaining laboratories, and further equipment.

Approximately €27 million in extrabudgetary contributions has been raised to date from a variety of donors, including 29 Member States, for the modernization of the laboratories. A further €4.7 million in additional extrabudgetary funds are required for ReNuAL+ by September 2017 to ensure that construction remains on schedule and to avoid cost increases. 

The modernization of the NA laboratories in Seibersdorf represents a critical investment in the Agency’s ability to help Member States achieve the SDGs. It will significantly enhance and expand the services and infrastructure that the laboratories can provide for Member States, and will position the laboratories to better adapt to meet future needs that may emerge. This will ensure that in the years to come the laboratories will have the core capabilities needed to help Member States maximize the benefits nuclear science and technology can deliver in the pursuit of their development goals.