Left Photo: IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano (right) with Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario Montejo (left) at the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute – DOST.
Right Photo: IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano (2nd from left) with PNRI Director Dr. Alumanda Dela Rosa (extreme right) at the Centralized Medical Cyclotron Facility
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Yukiya Amano, in a statement delivered at the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute – Department of Science and Technology (PNRI – DOST), commended the Philippines for the extensive applications and projects of nuclear technology in various fields, as well as its cooperation with other IAEA Member States.
“Your country is not only using these technologies for your purpose, but you are also helping other countries in sharing technology, in your region and beyond; this is very important, and I thank you for your cooperation,” said Director-General Amano.
Director General Amano has just recently concluded a visit to the Philippines to witness firsthand the country’s latest advances in nuclear science and technology. The one and a half - day visit to the country on January 27 – 28, 2015 was part of a larger tour of the IAEA Member States of Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
The Philippines has been a Member State of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since 1958. The IAEA, which was established in 1957 as the “Atoms for Peace” organization within the United Nations family, is the world’s foremost organization for scientific and technical cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology.
The Director General emphasized the ever-increasing role of the IAEA and nuclear applications in the development of countries around the globe.
“In a sense, for me, the IAEA is not only ‘Atoms for Peace’, but ‘Atoms for Peace and Development’ and this objective needs to be carried out by all the members of the IAEA,” he said.
IAEA DG Amano also addressed questions from journalists regarding the future of nuclear power, emphasizing that “it is your country, your people, who decide whether nuclear power is good for your country or not.”
“The role of the IAEA is to help them when they decide to use nuclear power. What we do is to help them to use nuclear power safely, securely and sustainably,” said the Director General.
For his part, DOST Secretary Mario Montejo expressed his gratitude and optimism for the continued partnership of the IAEA and the DOST, through PNRI, in future technical cooperation projects.
“This visit highlights the strong partnership nurtured through the years by the two partners that is the promise of what technical cooperation can bring about,” said Secretary Montejo.
IAEA Director General Amano toured the latest facilities of the PNRI-DOST which received assistance from the IAEA, including the recently inaugurated Electron Beam Facility for more advanced irradiation applications, the Technetium-99m Generator Facility for the production of radiopharmaceuticals, and the Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry Laboratory which will make isotope analytical services cheaper and more accessible to researchers.
The IAEA Chief also visited the Centralized Medical Cyclotron Facility at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute. The facility, which is the second cyclotron to be established in the country, will help make PET radiopharmaceuticals more available in nuclear medicine centers throughout the country. With technical assistance from the IAEA, PNRI coordinated a task force composed of the private and government sectors to facilitate the establishment of this facility.
DG Amano also interacted with the students, teachers and officials of Quezon City Science High School and San Francisco High School, the two pilot schools implementing an IAEA outreach program for encouraging high school students to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses and careers, particularly on nuclear science and technology.
The IAEA has selected the Philippines as one of the pilot countries, along with Indonesia, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, in launching an outreach program on nuclear science and technology for secondary schools.
The outreach project is being undertaken through the collaboration of the PNRI - DOST and the Quezon City Division of City Schools of the Department of Education.
DOST Secretary Montejo extended the invitation for Director General Amano to be the guest speaker at the 3rd Philippine Nuclear Congress to be held on 7-9 December 2015.