A researcher preparing radiation-grafted polymers which can be used to recover uranium from seawater
A small pellet of uranium the size of a pencil eraser produces as much energy as a ton of coal, or three barrels of oil (149 gallons), or about two fuel tankers (17,000 cubic feet) of natural gas. Photo from US Nuclear Regulatory Commission
DOST’s nuclear scientists to recover uranium from seawater
As the government mulls to include nuclear in the country’s energy mix, local scientists are looking at seawater to possibly source uranium which serves as power source for nuclear energy.
“Seawater is an unconventional uranium resource, where this heavy metal is known to be abundant and pseudo-renewable,” says Dr. Jordan Madrid of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute. Dr. Madrid heads a project which will provide a way to tap uranium through the development of adsorbent through radiation grafting technology.
Dr. Madrid’s team earlier used radiation technology to develop abaca into a non-woven fabric that can filter toxic materials such as heavy metals and other contaminants.
If uranium can be recovered locally from seawater, it may help alleviate costs and importation challenges of nuclear fuel, Dr. Madrid says.
Left: Secretary De la Peña delivers his pre-recorded statement at the plenary of the IAEA General Conference
Right: Ambassador Maria Cleofe Natividad, who currently serves as ambassador to Austria and Permanent Representative to the IAEA, attends the plenary of the conference in person. (Photo from the Philippine Embassy in Austria)
DOST Secretary leads Philippine Delegation to IAEA 64th General Conference
Representing the country’s recent strides towards Atoms for Peace and Development, Secretary Fortunato de la Peña of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) officially heads the Philippine Delegation during the opening of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 64th General Conference on September 21, 2020 in Vienna, Austria.
Ambassador Maria Cleofe Natividad, who is the Philippines' ambassador to Austria and the Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the IAEA, attends the conference in person as the alternate head of the delegation due to the safety precautions for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In his pre-recorded address to the plenary session, the Secretary acknowledged the role of nuclear science and technology in fighting the current pandemic, thanking the IAEA for its COVID-19 assistance.
"The peaceful uses of nuclear energy have time and time again risen up to meet the world's pressing and complex challenges. It is no surprise, therefore, that nuclear technology has stepped up to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19."
The IAEA 64th General Conference
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will hold its 64th General Conference from September 21 to 25, 2020 at the Vienna International Centre in Vienna, Austria. The plenary session will be accessible through the link below:
Apart from the plenary session, there will be several side events featuring topics related to nuclear science and technology. Due to restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the events will be held online.
For more information on the General Conference and the side events, please refer to the link below:
The IAEA, which reports to the United Nations, is the international organization for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology across the globe. The Philippines became a Member State of the IAEA in 1958.
Balik Scientist continues collaboration with PNRI for nuclear medicine development
Dr. Thomas Neil Pascual (left), an international expert in nuclear medicine and Balik Scientist, formally continues his second year of collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) during the contract signing on September 17, 2020 at PNRI. Also signing the agreement is PNRI Director Dr. Carlo Arcilla.
Formerly an expert from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr. Pascual was in charge of pioneering capacity building projects for nuclear medicine in Africa as well as in Asia and the Pacific region.
He first served as Balik Scientist with PNRI in 2019. Among the ongoing projects resulting from his collaboration with PNRI is the establishment of a cyclotron and PET-CT facility which will help make early diagnosis of diseases more accessible to Filipinos.
The Balik Scientist Program is an initiative of the DOST since 1975 that aims to encourage Filipino, experts, scientists and researchers based in foreign countries to return to the Philippines and contribute their expertise to the improvement of various fields and sectors.