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The 63rd Annual Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference was held from 16 to 20 September 2019 at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) in Vienna, Austria, where high-ranking officials and representatives from IAEA Member States discussed a range of issues on nuclear research.
An exhibition on “IAEA Assistance for a Sustainable Energy Future”, with Philippine participation presented an overview of the IAEA’s activities in the area of nuclear energy. It showcased the role of nuclear power in mitigating climate change and feature IAEA activities on research reactors and the safe management of radioactive waste.
Joining the General conference and exhibition is a Philippine delegation headed by Dr. Carlo Arcilla, director of Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI).
In an interview conducted by ABS-CBN News, Austria, Dr. Arcilla stressed his position that the country should strongly consider the use of nuclear energy in producing electricity.
Arcilla argued that the biggest stumbling block in the use of nuclear power is not technology but perception. For many Filipinos, the word “nuclear” is always immediately translated to an explosion.
The PNRI director maintained that nuclear power is cleaner and less wasteful than coal and it produces less carbon pollution than solar power.
„There are more than 450 nuclear power plants actively operating in the world and most of them are in the most progressive countries. Nuclear power supplies around 20 percent of the world’s power needs, emitting zero emissions. It is also considered as the most regulated industry in the world,“ Arcilla said
He maintained that nuclear science can actually serve many of the needs of consumers.
Aside from promoting the use of nuclear energy, Dr. Carlo Arcilla said that the agency is also helping to promote applications that help the agricultural sector. In the Philippine booth, visitors could have a glimpse of the new invention of a Filipino female scientist, that could help boost the growth of rice to 20%. The new invention has been made possible through the use of nuclear technology.
On the health sector, we have also created a nuclear medicine to lessen cancer diagnosis. We know that a number of Filipinos die because of cancer,“ Arcilla said.
Likewise, the agency presented beneficial tools by the use of nuclear energy in the areas of water, education, electricity and a lot more.
Ambassador Maria Cleofe Natividad thanked the IAEA for its continous support to the developmental projects in the Philippines.
„We believe that the IAEA will continue to play a very special role in the growth and develoment of the Philippines particularly through the technical cooperation and program. The Philippines with all its gratefullness will remain committed to the IAEA in progressing and furthering the pillars of our cooperation and partnership with the agency,“ the Ambassador said.
„You play important role in many areas and I think the example you set is an excellent one. You motivate others in reflecting the positive impact of involving women and young generations in the areas of science and technology. And it is our role in the agency to echo this positive impact to others,“ Acting IAEA Director General Cornel Ferut said.
Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) is the sole nuclear regulatory body in the Philippines, under the auspices of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). PNRI’s responsibilities focus on radiation and nuclear research and development.
- Hector Pascua, ABS-CBN News, Austria