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New IAEA Collaborating Centre to Advance Plant Mutation Breeding for Climate Change Resilience

Aldo Malavasi, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, and Djarot Sulistio Wisnbroto, Chairman, National Nuclear Energy Agency of the Republic of Indonesia (BATAN) at the Collaborating Centre Agreement signing ceremony held at the 61st IAEA General Conference,  IAEA Vienna, Austria on 22 September 2017. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

A new agreement was signed between Indonesia’s National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN) and the IAEA, designating the Center for Isotopes and Radiation Application (CIRA, BATAN) as an IAEA Collaborating Centre.

BATAN has already been designated a Collaborating Centre in the field of non-destructive testing (NDT). CIRA, which specializes in plant mutation breeding techniques, is expanding the scope of the partnership. This collaboration, a four year commitment, will help improve plant mutation breeding techniques and spread them throughout the region, so agricultural activities can achieve increased yields and greater resilience to climate change.

CIRA has successfully developed many mutant plant varieties and received an outstanding achievement award from the IAEA’s Director General, Yukiya Amano. One of the centre’s contributions will be to validate and co-develop protocols for mutation breeding of rice, sorghum, and soybeans. This goal will be facilitated by the exchange of resources with the Joint IAEA/FAO Division for food and agriculture, such as germplasm (collections of living genetic resources that can be used to develop and apply directed breeding techniques).

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano with Djarot Sulistio Wisnubroto, Chairman, National Nuclear Energy Agency of the Republic of Indonesia (BATAN) and Darmansjah Djumala, Ambassador and Resident Representative of Indonesia to the IAEA, at the Collaborating Centre Agreement signing ceremony held at the 61st IAEA General Conference. IAEA Vienna, Austria on 22 September 2017. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Aldo Malavasi, Deputy Director General and Head of the IAEA’s Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, also spoke on the achievements of BATAN: “We have been very impressed by BATAN’s capacity and its huge potential in applications of nuclear science. CIRA’s excellent work in plant breeding is a great example.”

 Besides research and development work, CIRA is also engaged in disseminating knowledge and techniques. During this designation period, they will host training courses and provide training materials to others in the region. Through the collaboration of CIRA and the IAEA, many other Member States in the region will be empowered to improve their climate smart agriculture through better practices in nuclear applications.

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