Hungary´s first fifty years of nuclear cooperation are feeding future plans in fields of nuclear safety, safeguards, and technology. Earlier this month, the country´s atomic energy authority hosted a special anniversary event saluting a half century of nuclear cooperation with the IAEA, which officially turns 50 in July this year.
"Hungary was one of the first founders of the IAEA in 1957, and remains a very active member," noted Mr. Yury Sokolov, IAEA Deputy Director General for Nuclear Energy, speaking at the event in Budapest. "Today many Hungarian experts support the IAEA´s work and the country hosts a great number of technical missions, scientific visits and fellowships." He pointed out that the country´s Paks nuclear power plant, which started operations in the 1980s and today produces about 40% of Hungary´s electricity, has hosted a number of IAEA expert review missions that are helping to guide future plant improvements and the work of the nuclear regulatory body.
Ms. Márta Fekszi Horvath, Senior State Secretary of Hungary´s Foreign Ministry, stressed the importance of Hungary´s cooperation with the IAEA, and underlined the country´s commitment to nuclear safety, safeguards, and peaceful nuclear technology. Mr. József Rónaky, Chairman of the Hungarian Atomic Energy Commission, emphasized the impact that the IAEA´s support has had on his country´s development. The support includes helping Hungary to set up a Maintenance Training Centre to strengthen training for operating and maintenance personnel at the Paks nuclear plant, noted Mr. Byung-Koo Kim, Director of the IAEA´s Division for Europe, Department of Technical Cooperation. The Centre also has benefitted other countries, including China, Russia, Ukraine and Pakistan, through expert exchanges and technical meetings.
Among recent highlights stands the inauguration of the Hungarian National Food Investigation Institute as an IAEA Collaborating Centre for the Production and Characterisation of Matrix Reference Materials. Such centres are part of the IAEA global network for Analytical Quality Control Services, which involve measurements of radionuclides, trace elements, and other compounds.