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IAEA Recognizes Contributors that Helped Modernize its Laboratories; New Donations Announced by Germany and US

Contributions of €1 million by Germany and approximately €2.6 million by the US for the project were announced during the event. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

A new donor wall, unveiled today, recognizes those who have contributed to the renovation of the IAEA’s nuclear applications laboratories, a project known as ReNuAL, which started in 2014 and has so far raised over €30 million in extra budgetary contributions. The event took place on the sidelines of the IAEA’s 61st General Conference.

“The modernization of the IAEA nuclear applications laboratories is one of the most important projects ever undertaken by the Agency. The benefits will be felt by Member States for decades,” said IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano at the event. “[The project] will improve the health, well-being and prosperity of many thousands of people around the world.”

The IAEA has raised funds from different donors — including 31 Member States — to modernize its eight laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria. The laboratories conduct applied and adaptive research to deliver new and improved nuclear technologies and techniques to Member States in food and agriculture, human health, the environment and the use of nuclear scientific instruments. Thanks to the laboratories, scientists from IAEA Member States receive training as well as technical and analytical services in these areas.

Earlier in the day, at the IAEA’s General Conference, United States Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced that the US will donate US $3.1 million (approximately €2.6 million) to the project.

“We make these contributions because we understand the broad benefits of nuclear power and other nuclear applications,” Perry said.

Thorsten Herdan, Director General for Energy Policy at Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, announced that his country will make a new contribution of €1 million. ReNuAL is a “brilliant and unique project that shows one thing: with nuclear technology, we can fight poverty and help people around the world live better lives,” he said.

IAEA laboratories: ripe for modernization

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. Member States’ needs are also evolving as new challenges emerge over time. The laboratories, however, had never been renovated nor their equipment upgraded.

Through the ReNuAL initiative, the IAEA is constructing new buildings and providing upgrades in laboratory equipment and infrastructure. A follow-up project to ReNuAL, called ReNuAL+, began in 2017 and will allow for additional construction, targeted refurbishment of some of the nuclear applications laboratories and further equipment.

“Your presence in this event shows the significance that each Member State attaches to this project,” said South African Deputy Minister of Energy Thembisile C. Majola to a crowded room during the event. South Africa is one of the Co-chairs of the Friends of ReNuAL, an informal group of Member States that has been working to raise awareness of the renovation and promote fundraising. Majola also called for continued commitment to achieve ReNuAL targets within time and budget.

An additional €1.1 million is required for ReNuAL+ by the end of September 2017 to keep construction on schedule.

Following the event, the donor wall will be displayed in the IAEA’s the new Insect Pest Control Laboratory in Seibersdorf, where scientists work on the Sterile Insect Technique, a birth control method for insects that targets pest populations that endanger crops, livestock and people. This first new laboratory will be inaugurated on 25 September 2017.

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