THE Philippine Nuclear Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology (PNRI-DOST) strengthened its capability in monitoring and irradiation through the latest additions in its stable of nuclear facilities.
The PNRI inaugurated its electron-beam facility and received the environmental-radiation monitor at the opening of the Atomic Energy celebration this week at the PNRI Compound on Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City.
Science Secretary Mario G. Montejo said at the opening ceremonies: “When we speak about the weather, let’s believe in Pagasa [Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration]; when it’s about nuclear, let’s believe in the PNRI. Let’s believe in ourselves,” he cheered the audience, composed of institutional partners, stakeholders, the media, students and PNRI-DOST personnel, as well as the foreign dignitaries from Argentina, Russia, France, the United States and Japan.
Incidentally, the ceremonies of the Atomic Energy Week occurred when Typhoon Ruby (international code name Hagupit) was lashing Central Visayas.
Montejo thanked the Korean government for the turnover of the radiation monitor, and the international community, including the US, Japan, Russia and Argentina, for supporting the PNRI’s project on the electron-beam facility.
The facility, the first of its kind in the country, will be useful for research, semicommercial electron-beam services and other radiation-processing-related applications.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Radiation Monitor System, which is called EFRD-3300, will provide continuous and real-time monitoring of ambient gamma radiation.
It will be part of a nationwide early-warning system for monitoring radiation emergencies, such as that which transpired at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Station in 2011.
According to PNRI Director Dr. Alumanda M. de la Rosa, “The additional facilities and equipment will be very helpful in improving our capabilities, not only in nuclear research but also in radiation protection and nuclear safety.”
Rep. Francis Gerald Aguinaldo-Abaya of the First District of Cavite said at the opening program: “You might be wondering what a congressman and an architect are doing in this highly scientific occasion.
To be honest, it is my brother, Secretary Jun Abaya, who is the science wiz in the family,” referring to Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya of the Department of Transportation and Communications at who himself was a former House representative.
“In the 14th Congress, one of [my brother’s] legacies is the pursuit of the passage of the Comprehensive Nuclear Energy Law,” beamed Abaya, who is a member of the House committees on Information and Communications Technology, and Science and Technology.
House Bill 147, or the proposed Comprehensive Nuclear Energy Law, will create a separate regulatory body independent of the PNRI.
He said, “I am proud to work with the PNRI in shepherding [its] passage in Congress…. The bottom line is, there is a need for the Philippines to be internationally compliant with our nuclear-regulatory practices.”
He then pledged that he will “continue to work hard to push for its passage during this Congress.”
The ceremonies were attended by Dr. Sunil Sabharwal, International Atomic Energy Agency technical officer; Dr. Young Yong Ji, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute senior researcher; and Dr. Bumsoo Han, CEO of EB Tech. Co. Ltd.
The weeklong Atomic Energy Week celebration also featured the Philippine Nuclear Science Quiz for high-school students and awarding ceremonies for PNRI employees.
Image credits: PNRI, Jeza Adanza Buctot