IAEA Deputy Director General Aldo Malavasi (second from right) hands over the plaque designating Viet Nam’s VINATOM as an IAEA Collaborating Centre to VINATOM President Dr. Tran Chi Thành (centre), H.E. Mr. Le Dung, Ambassador of Vietnam in Austria (right of flag) and Dr. Pham Cong Tac, Viet Nam’s Deputy Minister of Ministry of Science and Technology (far right) in Vienna, 29 November 2018. (Photo: S. Kiehne/IAEA)
An agreement was signed today between the Viet Nam Atomic Energy Institute (VINATOM) and the IAEA, officially designating VINATOM as an IAEA Collaborating Centre for Water and Environment. The Centre, the emphasis of which will be nuclear and isotopic techniques in integrated watershed and coastal area management, has been authorized for an initial period of three-years.
VINATOM is a governmental scientific organization under Viet Nam’s Ministry of Science and Technology with a significant network of national and international collaborations. Founded in 1976 with the establishment of the Dalat Nuclear Research Institute, it has since developed into a large-scale, multifaceted organization with more than 800 employees. Its mandate is to conduct, apply and deploy basic research in the atomic energy field; to provide technical support for government management of atomic energy, radiation and nuclear safety; and, education and training in the field. Over the past two years, the institute has produced a total of 23 major publications.
“This Collaborating Centre will surely enhance the VINATOM research and application strength and contribute to the socio-economic development of Vietnam. The Centre will be an effective tool for VINATOM and IAEA to effectively promote the application of Nuclear Techniques for Development and Environmental Protection,” said Dr Tran Chi Thanh, President of VINATOM.
The new Collaborating Centre will work with two divisions of the IAEA Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications: The Division of IAEA Environment Laboratories (NAEL) and the Isotope Hydrology Section (ISH), which is part of the Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences. It will focus on promoting the use of nuclear techniques for holistic water and environment assessment, monitoring and management in Viet Nam, as well as broader integrated watershed and coastal area management in the Southeast Asia region. The proposed areas of collaboration include air quality assessment and monitoring, soil and agricultural research, water resource research and analysis, marine environment research and analysis, climate change research, training and quality control and communication. Cooperation will link to IAEA projects related to linking terrestrial, freshwater and marine research; environmental radioactivity measurements in the Southeast Asia region; access to research reactor, facilities and expertise; and, capacity building for the Analytical Laboratories for the Measurement of Environmental Radioactivity network, ALMERA.
”We are very pleased to enter into this Collaborating Centre agreement with VINATOM,” said David Osborn, Director of NAEL. “In the past, the Institute has participated in several successful IAEA coordinated research and technical cooperation projects and can offer access to excellent facilities and a wealth of expertise both in the Southeast Asia region and in the general area of integrated watershed and coastal area management.”
VINATOM has a solid track record of previous involvement with the IAEA, including participation in several Coordinated Research Projects (CRPs), Technical Cooperation Projects, workshops and technical, research and committee meetings. In addition, it became a member of the ALMERA network, which comprises 177 laboratories in 89 Member States, in May 2018. ALMERA designated laboratories are selected for their ability to provide reliable and timely determination of radionuclides in samples used for both routine and emergency environmental monitoring. The network is coordinated by NAEL under the umbrella of the IAEA Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications.
In addition to several high-level representatives from the IAEA and VINATOM, the signing ceremony was also attended by Dr Pham Cong Tac, Viet Nam’s Deputy Minister of Ministry of Science and Technology and H.E. Mr Le Dung, Ambassador of Vietnam in Austria.
“The IAEA recognises the excellent research cooperation already undertaken by VINATOM and welcomes this new cooperation between institutions. This Collaborating Centre agreement extends an important global knowledge network that is bringing the peaceful uses of nuclear technology to millions of people,” said Aldo Malavasi, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications.
The IAEA Collaborating Centre scheme facilitates research, development and training and helps Member States to reach prescribed targets from the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Globally, and with the designation of VINATOM the IAEA currently has a network of 33 active Collaborating Centres.
Dr. Tran Chi Thành, President of VINATOM (seated centre) and IAEA Deputy Director General Aldo Malavasi (seated right) are joined by David Osborn, Director of NAEL (standing right), while signing the VINATOM Collaborating Centre agreement.