Construction of New IAEA Laboratories to Start

Small scale model of the Insect Pest Control Laboratory, the first of four nuclear applications labs scheduled for construction under the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories project. (Photo: V. Fournier/IAEA)

Preparation for the construction of new IAEA nuclear science laboratories near the Austrian town of Seibersdorf has started, Director General Yukiya Amano announced yesterday. The Insect Pest Control Laboratory will be the first of two nuclear applications (NA) laboratory buildings s scheduled for construction under the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories (ReNuAL) project. IAEA laboratories have operated on the site since 1962.

Mr Amano thanked Member States for their support of the project, which has received over 10 million euros in pledged financial contributions. “The progress we have made so far would not have been possible without the generous support of IAEA Member States,” he said. “I call on all Member States to continue to support the IAEA nuclear applications laboratories and the ReNuAL Project.”

The laboratories are key in the IAEA’s assistance to Member States, especially developing countries, said Tebogo Joseph Sekolo, South Africa’s Ambassador to the IAEA, and co-chair of the Friends of ReNuAL Group, a group of IAEA Member States supporting the project. “Having provided critical services for 50 years, these labs require a facelift,” he said. “There is no time for complacency. We need more funding.”

The labs provide unique contributions in a diverse range of areas, including food safety, climate change research and environmental monitoring, highlighted Friedrich Däuble, Germany’s Ambassador to the IAEA, and the other co-chair of the Friends of ReNuAL Group. “I thank all Member States who avail financial resources for this project.”

Welcoming researchers from all over the world

Alongside IAEA scientists, hundreds of fellows and other scientific visitors from Member States work and train in the labs each year. The nuclear sciences laboratories respond to global challenges in food and agriculture, human health, the environment and the development and use of advanced scientific instruments. The work of the laboratories has been crucial, including in the global eradication of rinderpest, a highly contagious viral disease afflicting cattle, and in developing drought resistant plant varieties to help countries adapt to changing climate conditions.

The Insect Pest Control Laboratory assists in the implementation of environmentally-friendly and sustainable methods to control insect pests to protect crops and livestock, using nuclear techniques. The new lab will be operational in late 2017.

The ReNuAL project now seeks to raise an additional 10 million euros to fund a second laboratory building to house additional laboratories. If the funding needed to begin construction of the Flexible Modular Laboratory is made available quickly, parallel construction with the Insect Pest Control Laboratory will result in significant cost savings said Andy Garner, Laboratory Coordinator.

Last update: 23 June 2016