By Reagan Aylmer, IAEA Department Of Nuclear Sciences And Applications
Having received almost half the required funding for renovating the IAEA’s unique nuclear science and technology laboratories, Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi thanked the countries that have contributed to the project and asked for more support at an event held today on the margins of the IAEA’s regular Board of Governors meeting.
“The Nuclear Applications Laboratories in Seibersdorf are the unsung heroes of IAEA efforts to deliver the benefits of peaceful nuclear technologies to its 173 Member States,” he said. “They provide important support to Member States in addressing challenges with climate change and the environment.”
Mr Grossi recognized the five countries that have provided a total of €8.1 million(US$9.8million) in extrabudgetary contributions to this final phase of the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories (ReNuAL) initiative: Japan, Russia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The event featured the accomplishments of the project so far and outlined the next steps in the final phase, informally referred to as ReNuAL2.
“With this contribution, Russia shows its commitment to ensuring the peaceful uses of nuclear technologies continue to be available for all Member States through the IAEA’s laboratories in Seibersdorf,” said Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Russia to the International Organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov.
The ReNuAL initiative, which began in 2014, marks the first comprehensive modernization of the laboratories since they opened in 1962. Since then, the number of IAEA Member States has more than doubled, leading to a significant increase in requests for assistance from the laboratories. Recognising this, the IAEA launched the ReNuAL initiative with a goal of upgrading the laboratories to meet the growing and evolving needs of Member States.
“Over the years, the ReNuAL project has made significant strides in modernizing the nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf. Germany is pleased to be a part of this effort, and we encourage all Member States to help see this important initiative through to a successful conclusion.” said German Ambassador Gerhard Kuntzle, the Co-Chair, along with South Africa, of the Friends of ReNuAL, an informal group of Member States working to promote fundraising and raise awareness of the renovation.
The first phase of, ReNuAL has delivered a new Insect Pest Control Laboratory building, a new Linear Accelerator Facility and the new Yukiya Amano Laboratories building, which houses the Animal Production and Health Laboratory, the Food and Environmental Protection Laboratory and the Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition Laboratory.
To complete the ReNuAL initiative by upgrading the remaining laboratories that have not yet been modernized, Director General Grossi launched ReNuAL2 in September 2020. ReNuAL2 will deliver a new building to house three laboratories: the Plant Breeding and Genetics Laboratory, the Nuclear Sciences and Instrumentation Laboratory, and the Terrestrial Environment Laboratory and new greenhouses, and will complete the modernization of the Dosimetry Laboratory.
An architectural rendering of the proposed design for the new Flexible Modular Laboratories (FML2) building and greenhouses.
Construction is planned to begin in the first quarter of 2022, with an expected completion date of all three elements by the end of 2023. With funding for the Dosimetry laboratory refurbishment already provided through a contribution from the United States, ReNuAL2 is focussing on mobilising the remaining €8.9 million needed by the fourth quarter of 2021 for a timely launch of construction on the new Flexible Modular Laboratory building.
“The ReNuAL Project’s important work, ensuring the IAEA laboratories remain fit-for-purpose, continues to draw support from Member States around the world. We look forward to continue celebrating this unity as more Member States provide extrabudgetary contributions and place their national plaques on the donor display,” said Ambassador of South Africa, Rapulane Molekane.
All new ReNuAL2 contributors will be honoured during the upcoming 65th IAEA General Conference with a plaque on the new donor display, to be permanently installed in the lobby of the new building upon its completion. Since 2014, the ReNuAL project has received over €45 million(US$54.5million) in extrabudgetary support from a wide range of donors, including 42 Member States, as well as other institutional contributors and partners.