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IAEA Reviews Viet Nam's Infrastructure for a Research Reactor, Delivers Review Report to Nigeria

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IAEA Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review for Research Reactors (INIR-RR) mission team and Viet Nam delegation during discussions in Hanoi, 3 December 2018. (Photo: IAEA)

As part of its preparations for a new multipurpose research reactor, Viet Nam hosted an IAEA Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review for Research Reactors (INIR-RR) mission to identify improvements needed for a successful and sustainable development of the project.

The Viet Nam delegation, headed by Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Pham Cong Tac, provided a number of documents to facilitate the assessment of the nuclear national infrastructure developed in preparation for a new research reactor project, which is planned to start operation in 2026. The new facility is planned to serve for diverse needs, such as in education, training, radioisotope production and materials sciences.

“Viet Nam has demonstrated strong government support and understanding of long term national commitments for developing the nuclear infrastructure for the new research reactor,” said Andrey Sitnikov, who led the IAEA review that took place in Hanoi from 3 to 7 December 2018. “We noted that Viet Nam has adopted a holistic approach to this project, to ensure effective use of resources in developing infrastructure for the proposed multipurpose research reactor.”

The team made recommendations and suggestions, highlighting areas where action could assist Viet Nam in making further progress, including:

  • Strengthening the independence of the regulatory body
  • Updating and broadening the human resources development plan including all relevant organizations
  • Conducting a more detailed assessment of the potential use of the research reactor.

The team also identified the use of Information Centre for Atomic Energy for public outreach as a good practice of stakeholder involvement that would benefit other countries considering new research reactor projects.

Pioneering Mission in Nigeria – Final Report Delivered

The first INIR-RR mission was conducted in Nigeria, in February 2018. Its final report was handed over to Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology on 12 December 2018. Nigeria has one operating research reactor, and is considering acquiring a larger one, as part of its nuclear science and technology programme, which also includes the possible introduction of nuclear power.

According to the report, Nigeria already has in place processes covering most of the 19 infrastructure issues, especially with regards to safety, which has been noted as a good practice, and to education. However, the infrastructure would need to be stepped up for the implementation of a bigger reactor project.

The report recommends an in-depth analysis of the main uses of the larger reactor and enhanced planning of human resources. It emphasizes the importance of a thorough site evaluation, as recommended by the IAEA Safety Standards.

“Nigeria is establishing a sound basis for its programme and is willing to learn from international experience,” said Christophe Xerri, Director of the IAEA's Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology, who delivered the report on behalf of the IAEA. “The IAEA is ready to continue supporting Nigeria, at their request, to develop the infrastructure for its new project.”

Ogbonnaya Onu, Nigeria's Minister of Science and Technology (left) met Christophe Xerri, Director of the IAEA's Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology (second left), who handed over the final report of the IAEA Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review for Research Reactors (INIR‑RR), 12 December 2018. (Photo: Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Nigeria)

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