Davos, 24 May 2022 (TDI): The International Conference on Accelerators for Research and Sustainable Development was opened by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi. The theme of the meeting was “From Good Practices to Socioeconomic Impact.”

The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) noted that accelerator technology’s far-reaching capabilities aid countries to progress toward sustainable development.

The work of IAEA with accelerators contributes to the Atoms for Peace and Development mission of the organization.

 

In an opening panel, the Director-General was joined by three IAEA Deputy Directors-General to layout the conference’s goals. The multiplicity of accelerator applications was also put forth in the opening.

The IAEA provides assistance to countries in developing and using accelerator technology. This is the first time the IAEA has held a meeting on this topic. Nearly 500 specialists from 72 countries are expected to attend in person and online.

The five-day conference is aimed at researchers working on accelerator-based research and applications. It is aimed at accelerator operators and users, as well as entrepreneurs and stakeholders interested in accelerator technology applications.

It is aimed at policymakers and regulators as well. Observers are welcome to register and participate virtually if they choose.

Accelerators for Development

Today, over 20,000 accelerators help make radiopharmaceuticals, heal diseases, and preserve food all around the world. They keep an eye on the environment, improve materials, learn basic physics, research the past, and even solve murders.

The agency assists countries with accelerator applications in areas such as health, agriculture, research, environmental monitoring, cultural heritage, and industry.

This is accomplished through its collaborative research projects and technical assistance programmes. The IAEA Director-General also discussed how accelerator technology is crucial to two IAEA efforts.

These have been available for over a year. Rays of Hope and NUTEC Plastics are two examples. Rays of Hope aims to improve low and middle-income countries’ access to radiotherapy and cancer care.

NUTEC Plastics assists governments in dealing with plastic trash on land and in the ocean. According to Director-General Rafael Grossi, linear accelerators, or linacs, can eliminate cancerous tumors.

In support of a circular economy, linacs accelerators can be used to cure plastic trash and turn it into valuable products. The relevance of accelerator technology in reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals was highlighted by Najat Mokhtar.

Najat Mokhtar is the IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications. There are 17 global goals aimed at reducing poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, and promoting peace and justice.

Deputy Director Mokhtar expressed interest in discussing ways to improve accelerator access in underdeveloped nations. She was also expressed to tackle issues like food waste and sewage waste management. Nuclear energy uses accelerators as well.

Accelerators are an important aspect of the accelerator-driven system (ADS) idea for both energy generation and nuclear waste management, according to Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy.

Developmental Accelerators

ADS can convert high-level, long-lived nuclear waste products from reactors into waste with a significantly shorter lifespan. This has effects on radioactive waste prices and management, as well as the public perception of nuclear power.

The usefulness of accelerators in testing the materials used in nuclear fission and fusion reactors was also discussed by Deputy Director Chudakov. Ion beam techniques can be utilized to imitate the radiation and damage caused by a reactor’s activity in this case.

They help solve numerous developmental demands, according to Hua Liu, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation. Deputy Director-General described how the IAEA assists countries with capacity building and training.

He talked about how the IAEA helped Jordan set up the Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) project. The IAEA collaboration at Thailand’s Synchrotron Light Research Institute was also mentioned.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) helps governments arrange for scientists to be taught at these facilities. It collaborates with the Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste in Italy.

According to Deputy Director-General Liu, the IAEA is now assisting in the coordination of the synchrotron’s construction in Africa.

Accelerating Access

While the IAEA assists countries in using accelerators, Director-General Grossi believes the organization could accomplish far more with its own accelerator.

In order to accomplish this, the IAEA plans to build its own cutting-edge Ion Beam Facility (IBF) in Seibersdorf, Austria. This new accelerator will aid research.

It will also educate and train scientists in ion beam applications. This involves neutron generation as a secondary particle. Through extra-budgetary or in-kind contributions, the IAEA hopes to raise around €4.6 million from its Member States.

This is to accommodate the ion beam accelerator for the IBF project. This is also to make room for the necessary infrastructure and instrumentation, as well as the resources to run it.

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