Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and Rwanda’s Ministry of Infrastructure on 28 February signed two memoranda of cooperation on education and personnel training and on developing public acceptance of nuclear energy. This followed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy signed on 5 December. Rosatom and Rwanda agreed to implement joint projects in the education and training of personnel for the needs of the nuclear energy and related industries by: organising personnel training programmes for Rwandan nuclear infrastructure; developing close cooperation between educational institutions; organising joint short-term programmes and teacher training; and preparing educational and scientific literature and the exchange of students.

The memorandum on public opinion involves preparing and implementing public and media briefing activities. Rosatom said this will include informing the public about nuclear technologies and their uses as well as interaction with journalists, experts, teachers and students and organising events for them.

Earlier, on 22 February, Rosatom’s Technical Academy and the World Nuclear University (WNU) signed an agreement to hold a specialised WNU school on radiation technologies in Russia this year in preparation for construction by Rosatom of various Centres of Nuclear Science and Technology (CNSTs), around the world, including one being built at Chongwe in Zambia. The school will comprise a two-week programme of lectures and practical sessions delivered by experts in the field of radiation application and isotope production. It is held biennially by the WNU in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (the previous school was organised in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2017), with the agency providing the school with financial support through scholarships.

In 2019, the school will be held in the science city of Obninsk, as a key step in the establishment of a system for training personnel for future CNSTs. It is planned to invite participants from countries that are potential recipients of CNSTs,  such as Bolivia, Zambia, Mongolia, and others,  and to demonstrate to them Obninsk's capabilities in the use of research reactors (Karpov Scientific Research Institute of Physics and Chemistry - NIFKhI), isotope production (AI Leipunsky Institute of Physics & Power Engineering - IPPE), their application in medicine (A Tsyb Medical Radiological Research Centre - MRRC) and agriculture (Russian Institute of Agricultural Radiology and Argoecology - RIARAE).

On May 15, 2018, Zambia and Rosatom signed a general contract for the construction of a CNST in Chongwe. The project will be implemented in several stages within 3-6 years from the start date. “It is also important to note that there will be other resultant benefits such as increased foreign exchange earnings, creation of employment opportunities, gaining access to the international markets for Zambia’s agricultural products and increased competitiveness and viability of Zambian industries,” said Zambian higher education minister Nkandu Luo. With the construction of the CNST, Zambia will become the 9th African country to possess a 10MWt research reactor. 

Zambian Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Malanji told Sputnik on 20 February that construction of the reactor would begin “as soon as our technocrats meet the prerequisites of the International Atomic Agency”. He said: “It's all dependent on how quickly this will be done. We will not go through at supersonic speed - we want to make sure that we meet the international standards and prerequisites to this programme and thereafter, of course, we will proceed to having the programme implemented.” He indicated that new agreements would be signed for additional reactors.

Date: Sunday, 03 March 2019
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