Russia’s state-run nuclear agency, Rosatom and the Zambian government on Thursday signed an intergovernmental agreement on construction of a Nuclear Science and Technologies Center.
The document was signed by Likhachev and Ministry of National Development Planning Permanent Secretary Simon Miti.
This follows Zambia’s signing of four memoranda of understanding with Rosatom in December last year with a view to signing a nuclear deal worth $10-billion.
Director General of Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation Alexey Likhachev told Journalists that the agreement provides for building a center in Zambia on a basis of a multi-purpose research water-moderated reactor with a capacity of up to 10 MW.
The facility is intended to house laboratories and functional complexes to perform tasks for the benefit of the country’s medicine and agriculture.
The Head of Rosatom indicated that the center’s construction would kick off the establishment of nuclear industry in Zambia.
He said Russia is ready to continue active cooperation and to share its work experience in the field of the use of peaceful nuclear energy’s technologies in order to prepare highly qualified staff there.
Mr Likhachev said in future, there will be one more project involving the construction of a research reactor.
“We achieved signing of the intergovernmental agreement in short terms – this is just a start of our big job related to creation of an actually new industry in Russia. Many plans and joint projects are onward. The research reactor will be in the core of these project and I highly hope it will give an impetus to a new technology level in the country,” Mr Likhachev said after document signing.
“The Center will make possible to do research in radiobiology sphere and establish production of radioisotopes in Zambia for wide application in cancer diagnostics and treatment. It will also service for staff training for the local nuclear industry.
“This is the start of a new task to create a nuclear industry in Zambia. Many plans lie ahead, including joint projects that will focus around a research reactor…. Russia is ready to share the best expertise at each stage,” Mr. Likhachev said.
He added that Russia will also help Zambia train qualified personnel to work in the center, expressing hope for the new project to bring economic benefits to the country.
The center will be built around a 10-megawatt experimental water cooled reactor and will have a range of laboratories and facilities for producing radioisotopes used to diagnose and treat cancer, and sterilizing food and agricultural products to extend their shelf life and protect them from insects, thus allowing Zambia to increase exports.
The center will also prepare qualified personnel that will service Zambia’s future nuclear industry.
The deal was inked after the two nations agreed last May to cooperate in the field of peaceful nuclear energy, at the Atomexpo 2016 forum in Moscow.
Russia has been cooperating with non-nuclear countries, including Nigeria, Bolivia and Vietnam, to help them harness nuclear energy to treat diseases and sterilize food.
Research centers usually allow to take further steps in developing an indigenous nuclear industry.