1. Zambia plans to establish a Nuclear Education Centre, is the new establishment just a Nuclear Education Centre or a Nuclear University, will it award degrees, and what would be its name?
According to the Intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation between Russia and Zambia, the institution will constitute the Centre of Nuclear Science and Technology. The Centre will be based on the multipurpose research reactor with a capacity of 10 MW equipped with laboratories, functional facilities and complexes providing a whole range of scientific research, training and commercial applications. ThecCentre will also comprise multifunctional irradiation centre and nuclear medicine Centre based on the cyclotron.
The CNST is expected to allow Zambia to start the development and mastering of nuclear technologies that may be applied in science, education, healthcare, agriculture and industry such as geology and other fields.
Moreover the Center is also set to be used to prepare and train personnel for the country’s nuclear program development, but also for the specialists coming from the entire region.
In general, such research centers are open for students from the relevant University faculties specializing in medicine, engineering, physics, geology, and other adjacent areas of nuclear technologies applications.
The Center will have a certain difference from a traditional academic institution, as its purpose is to provide an opportunity for experienced professionals or specialists being trained to gain new skills, obtain an additional or a new qualification in areas of their major studies, and foster scientific interest. The Centre will be used as a platform of interuniversity cooperation and scientific collaboration between local and foreign students and specialists.
2. When is its development expected to start, where (its physical place) and what could be its initial enrollment?
According to the Decision of Government of Zambia, the location of the Centre will be within the premises of the National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research. The Government of Zambia is a fully responsible for the selection of the Centre site and it is will be located near Lusaka International Airport, Silver Rest District. That is ideal location for such type of facilities because it can attract not only population and personnel during the construction stage but also will be convenient during the operation stage. It is also ideal from the logistics point of view.
As for the physical works on the project, it is generally divided into preparatory stage and the main stage. The preparatory stage includes necessary investigation activities on site to demonstrate its suitability for the construction of the nuclear irradiation facilities. The contract on the preliminary site survey was signed during Atomexpo 2017 with participation of the Zambian delegation part. As soon as Zambian site is ready, Rosatom can promptly start the works at the Centre site.
The data collection and the field works are required to obtain the data necessary for the design and the facility. We always take into account the requirements according to the Russian norms and regulations for nuclear and irradiation facilities, IAEA recommendations and applicable Zambian norms and standards.
The design and construction of the facility has to do with the main stage of the project and are implemented after the sign of the general contract for the construction. The Russian Party works in close cooperation with the Zambian Party in order to prepare this contract for signing in 2018. At the same time the Zambian Party will perform its obligations to prepare the site for construction according to the Intergovernmental Agreement.
Upon signing the general contract, the construction itself may last up to five-six years. The schedule is to be determined during the contract negotiation.
3. At what cost is it being developed, and how is it being financed?
Such projects for construction of the Centre of Nuclear Science and Technology are subject to the governmental strategic investment program in order to become a part of global nuclear community, and develop nuclear industry in the country.
The cost of the Centre depends on its configuration, distribution of laboratories, functional complexes, and facilities. From the conceptual point of view, any such Centre can be divided into two parts: the first one – aimed at scientific and educational purposes, and the other one – at the Centre commercial application. As far as we understand, traditionally the so-called scientific and educational part is financed completely by the state funds, intended for scientific development, personnel training, and enhancement of the in-site and out-site infrastructure.
Moreover, the concept of the Centre provides for a number of technological processes and applications that can form a ground for development of different business areas with various products and services that may be commercialized, such as radiological and medical technologies, isotope production, manufacturing the radio pharmaceuticals etc.
4. Is there any other role for ROSATOM for the Centre other than offering training expertise?
The Rosatom approach is based on its integrated offer that is the same for NPP construction and includes few core elements: technical solution, establishment and development of the nuclear infrastructure in the Customer’s country, training and requalification of local specialists, manufacture localization in the Customer’s country, fuel supply and CNST maintenance, operation support, public acceptance and back-end services.
Rosatom is not just a vendor of technology for building the Centre and personnel training. We can also render assistance to the country and our partners during the whole life cycle of the Centre.
When implementing such projects in a foreign country, Rosatom offers collaboration to the customer in the national nuclear program development.
The proposal for the establishment of nuclear science and technology centers provide access to the entire range of nuclear industry products and services and full support of the national nuclear program.
5. If started, will the Centre/University take 10 to 15 years to get completed, as indicated in the statement as the time for the development of a nuclear program?
In general, the nuclear program development in a newcomer country takes 10-15 years. The construction of nuclear science and technology centers is a key stage in the possible nuclear development in newcomer countries. It provides a solution to one of the main problems, the training of qualified personnel to work in the field of nuclear technology. Educational programs can be developed and there is the opportunity to conduct training courses and offer practical experience. All these stepshelp to implement a national nuclear program. The Centre construction takes far less time than NPP construction. Moreover, the establishment of nuclear science and technology centers makes it possible to promptly inform the population on possibilities of nuclear power. Therefore, the construction of nuclear science and technology centers is an ideal initial step in the development of nuclear technologies.