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Advanced Radiation Technology Institute (ARTI), an IAEA Collaborating Centre in The Republic of Korea, Signs Redesignation Agreement

Aldo Malavasi, Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, hands over ARTI’s redesignation plaque to Dr. Byung Yeoup Chung, Director General of ARTI, and Minister Lim Seung Cheol, of the Embassy and Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea. (Photo: J. Brittain, IAEA).

Following a previous collaboration from 2012 to 2016, an IAEA Collaborating Centre has been officially redesignated for 2017 to 2021. The Advanced Radiation Technology Institute (ARTI, an affiliate of the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute) is equipped with several modern laboratory facilities, and is an active participant in several areas of radiation processing technology.

This newly signed agreement entails a commitment from ARTI and the IAEA to work together in the areas of environmental remediation, material science development, food irradiation, biotechnology, and agricultural applications of radiation. The aim of the collaboration is to provide expertise and capacity building for Member States in each of these areas.

On the side of the IAEA, these activities will be supported by the Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences and the IAEA/FAO Joint Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture —both divisions are part of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications.

ARTI, along with its very capable professional workforce, brings highly specialized, state-of-the-art technologies to the collaboration. As they work on constructing a large-scale, multipurpose electron beam (EB) irradiation centre, their facilities already include an ion implanter, a 10 MeV EB accelerator, a 30 MeV Cyclotron, two gamma irradiators, and a mobile EB accelerator. This mobile EB can be transported to different locations, for instance industrial sites which need to be treated for contaminants, or to accident sites to help remove toxins.

During the last collaboration period, ARTI made significant contributions to several areas, including: the establishment of a radiation breeding facility which developed new mutant varieties of crops like rice and soybean, sterilization of space food products, radiation treatment of contaminated groundwater and toxic gases, development of bioactive hydrogel, and the development of high-performance hybrid composite materials for use in industry.

“ARTI’s work has been instrumental not only in the creation of new knowledge and techniques, but also in the dissemination of them to other Member States,” says Aldo Malavasi, Head of the IAEA’s Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications. “That’s a huge part of the value of our Collaborating Centres.”

The re-designation agreement was timed to coincide with a Consultants’ meeting entitled, “The Evolving Role of the IAEA Collaborating Centres in the Advancement of Radiation Processing Applications,” held in Vienna by the IAEA’s Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences. This meeting, the first of its kind, involved all the division’s current Collaborating Centres (listed below), including ARTI. It served to reinforce and highlight the central importance of establishing active links between scientific institutions around the world.

  • Malaysian Nuclear Agency (MNA, Malaysia)
  • National Center for Electron Beam Research (NCEBR, USA)
  • National Institute of Nuclear Research (ININ, Mexico)
  • Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology (INCT, Poland)

Joao Osso, from the Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences, hopes to organize similar technical meetings in the future. “Connections between the IAEA and our Collaborating Centres are just one aspect of these programs—we also need to facilitate cooperation between the centres themselves, and hosting these meetings is a great way to encourage that.”

The knowledge and the techniques created by ARTI have made progress in a range of areas, which will continue to be pursued over the new designation period with the IAEA. Scientists at both institutions are optimistic about the potential impact of the ongoing collaboration, and there is great hope that further technical meetings uniting different institutions will strengthen ties between researchers in related fields.

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