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PAEC to provide technical support to IAEA members

By Amin Ahmed 2021-10-25
ISLAMABAD: Regulators and users of nuclear technology from Africa, Asia and the Pacific will soon be able to tap into the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission`s (PAEC) 50 years of experience in managing nuclear power and application projects, a PAEC official source confirmed to Dawn on Sunday.

This cooperation has been made possible under an agreement signed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the PAEC on the sidelines of the 65th IAEA generalconference held in Austria last month.

Providing a framework for cooperation in the areas of peaceful uses of nuclear technologies, practical arrangements under the newly signed agreement will last for a period of three years, until 2024, as both the IAEA and PAEC have agreed on a plan of action covering key activities and timelines.

PAEC Information Director Shahid Riaz Khan, when contacted, confirmed the signing of the agreement by representatives of both the international agency and the PAEC.

IAEA Deputy Director-General Liu Hua at the signing of the agreement congratulated the PAEC on the practical arrangements and stated: `These arrangements are an effective example of South-South cooperation, implemented through established IAEA mechanisms.

According to him, theimplementation of this plan of action would bemonitored regularly to assess progress and ensure compliance. The arrangements would enhance collaboration between the IAEA and PAEC, and would also help share Pakistan`s expertise with IAEA member states across the world, particularlyfromAfrica,he said.

PAEC Chairman Mohammad Naeem on the occasion admitted that Pakistan greatly benefitted from the technical cooperation programme of the IAEA, and `now we are in a position to provide technical support to other member states`. He said: `This practical arrangement will provide a forum for all African countries in the region for collaboration in the field of agriculture, human health, training and regulatory affairs under the ambit of IAEA.

The agreement identifies a number of activities in which cooperation may be pursued, and these include collaboration with relevant national institutions, laboratories, medicalinstitutions and research centres through the PAEC; exchange and dissemination of information and sharing of experiences and best practices in the area of food and agriculture, nuclear medicine, radiation oncology, medical physics, radioisotope applications, nuclear education and other areas of peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology that may be agreed upon by the parties.

The provision of PAEC experts and lecturers to support technical cooperation through national and regional programme activities; hosting of IAEA meetings, trainings and capacity building activities, including fellows and scientific visitors, as well as development of educational and training courses and materials; and support in laboratory and sample analysis carried out by qualified technicians and scientists in PAECaffiliatedlabs, facilities and research institutions are also among the identified activities.