DOST: PH nuclear scientists to be trained at Australia’s nuclear agency

Published March 6, 2021, 9:16 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Young and potential Filipino nuclear scientists will soon be trained at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO) following the Philippines’ signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Australia’s nuclear agency on nuclear cooperation. 

Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña (TOTO LOZANO / Presidential Photo / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña disclosed this during his weekly report on Friday, March 6.

“The DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO), Australia’s nuclear agency, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to pursue collaborations on a wide range of nuclear areas,” he said. 

He cited the ANSTO  as one of the best nuclear research agencies in the world and a leading producer of medical isotopes. 

“The MOU will allow young and potential Filipino nuclear scientists to train at ANSTO, as well as jumpstart visits of Australian nuclear experts to share cutting edge nuclear science developments with Filipino nuclear scientists,” De la Peña said. 

“Should the country decide to include nuclear power in the mix, Australia is also one of the leading sources of nuclear uranium fuel,” the DOST chief noted.

In a virtual briefing last week, DOST-PNRI Director Dr. Carlo Arcilla said the entry of nuclear power into the country’s energy mix has been recommended to President Duterte.

He said an executive order seeking to tap nuclear energy as part of the country’s  energy mix has been proposed to the Chief Executive for his consideration. 

Once it emanates from the President, it will become a national policy and it will start the process, the PNRI top official said.

In July 2020, President Duterte signed Executive Order 116 creating the  National Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEP-IAC) to look into the adoption of a national position on Nuclear Energy Program.

DOST-PNRI is the vice chair of the NEP-IAC. The Committee is led by the Department of Energy (DOE).

Arcilla said once the EO is signed, the “main implementor” of the Nuclear Energy Program will be the DOE, while PNRI will serve as the regulator.