Left Photo: Dr. Graceta Cuevas, the 42nd Atomic Energy Week Chairperson (on podium) gives the welcoming remarks during the opening ceremonies. Seated (from left) are PNRI Director Dr. Alumanda Dela Rosa, DOST Secretary Mario Montejo, Congressman Francis Gerald Abaya and Minister Counselor Guillermo Eduardo Devoto of the Embassy of Argentina.
Right Photo: (From Left) Director Dela Rosa, Congressman Abaya and DOST Undersecretary Dr. Amelia Guevara observe as a PNRI researcher demonstrates the detection of radioactivity from beach sands containing allanite using an RS230 portable gamma-ray spectrometer.
Spearheading the country’s progress in nuclear science and technology, the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology (PNRI-DOST) celebrated the 42nd Atomic Energy Week (AEW) celebration from December 8-12, 2014 at the PNRI compound. The annual AEW celebration, as mandated under Presidential proclamation No. 1211 in 1973, aims to generate awareness of the Filipino people on the beneficial uses of nuclear science and technology.
With the theme, “The Philippines: Moving Forward with Nuclear Science and Technology", PNRI opened its facilities to hundreds of visitors daily during the week, featuring the latest advances in nuclear science and technology in the country in the fields of agriculture, industry, health & medicine, and the environment.
“Coming over to PNRI in spite of your very busy schedule and the not-so-good weather serves to remind us that we are important to you,” said Dr. Graceta Cuevas, Chairperson of the 42nd AEW as she delivered her welcome address, daring the participants “to be challenged, excited and inspired by the activities that await us for the next 5 days.”
Despite the onslaught of Typhoon Ruby, the AEW opening ceremonies successfully pushed through, and was graced with the presence of DOST Secretary Mario Montejo, and Congressman Francis Gerald Abaya of the 1st District of Cavite, along with other officials of the DOST, technical experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), members of the diplomatic corps, former officials and employees of the PNRI, and the media.
In delivering his inspirational message, the Secretary found that this year’s theme “embodies my aspiration for an empowered S&T community working forward on the socio-economic and technological development of the country.”
“I witnessed the vigor and enthusiasm of the PNRI workforce, the mature staff mentoring the new wave of nuclear scientists in fulfilling the commitment of PNRI to explore the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology for the benefit of our people,” said Secretary Montejo.
Congressman Abaya, who filed House Bill 147 or the Comprehensive Nuclear Law, continued to pledge his support for the creation of a separate and independent regulatory body to strengthen the Philippines’ commitment to international nuclear safety and security. Abaya said it was his pleasure to work with PNRI “in achieving the fullest potential of nuclear science and technology through proper institutional and legal mechanisms.”
“I also encourage everyone here present, as partners and stakeholders in the field of nuclear science and technology, to continue building synergy in order to propel the field into even greater heights. The potential of nuclear technology in the various fields of human endeavor is vast, and it is my wish that we can all harness this potential for the benefit of every Filipino,” Congressman Abaya said in his keynote address.
During the celebration, the PNRI inaugurated its brand new Electron Beam Facility established with funds from IAEA, DOST-GIA, the US and Japanese Governments, and accepted a donation of an online environmental radiation monitor from the South Korean government. The ceremonies were attended by representatives from the EB Tech Co., Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), the Korea Trade Promotion Corporation (KOTRA), EB Tech, Co., and Satrec Initiative.
Technical Sessions were held on December 10 from morning until afternoon, with experts from PNRI, the IAEA and South Korea delivering lectures on electron beam applications, environmental radiation monitoring, and various applications of nuclear analytical techniques in food, agriculture and marine industries.
High school students from across the country competed in a showdown of knowledge in nuclear science and technology in the Philippine Nuclear Science Quiz (PNSQ) on December 11. Parañaque Science High School won first place with Lawrence Glen Sabaria, Justine Mateus Medina and coach Jane Andrea Nitro, followed by Caloocan City Science High School for second place with Patrick Canacana, Ma. Steffi Lucum and coach Angelo Cabic, and Manila Science High School in third place with Benedict Anuta, Christopher John Limos and coach Ferdinand Bautista. The first placer received a cash price of Php 30,000, the second placer Php 20,000 and the third placer Php 10,000, all including plaques and certificates of recognition.
At the closing ceremonies on December 12, PNRI scientists who recently won in the DOST International Publication Awards, those who were able to patent their works, exemplary civil servants and the PNSQ winners were awarded and recognized. PNRI Director Dr. Alumanda Dela Rosa proudly announced that PNRI won the DOST International Awards for the highest number of ISI Publications and approved Patents. The Director also proudly announced that the Institute was finally awarded the ISO 9001:2008 certification as of December 2014, prompting loud cheers among the PNRI employees and staff.
Meanwhile, veteran scientists, employees and staff of PNRI who have already retired came home in a heartwarming reunion in An Afternoon in PNRI.
“This is a team effort, and even I know that it involved very difficult work,” said the Director as she thanked everybody for their efforts to achieve yet another milestone for the Institute.