moupnriviaverdeDOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña (middle), PNRI Director Dr. Carlo Arcilla (2nd from left), Via Verde President Dave Ranile (2nd from right), PNRI Career Scientist Dr. Lucille Abad (extreme left) and Mr. Steven Hung of Via Verde (extreme right) during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Project Development Assistance for Irradiation Services between DOST-PNRI and Via Verde, who plans to establish a commercial irradiation facility in the near future.

PNRI partners with private sector for commercial irradiation facility

Reaching another milestone in radiation technologies for Filipino industries, the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) will provide its expertise to private firm Via Verde in its bid to establish a fully commercial irradiation facility in the Philippines.

PNRI Director Dr. Carlo Arcilla and Via Verde President Dave Ranile signed the memorandum of understanding for PNRI to provide technical assistance in irradiation services on June 16, with no less than DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña as ceremonial witness.

Via Verde’s projected commercial facility will use gamma radiation to process agricultural products and improve their quality and competitiveness in the market, while eventually looking to expand their services to the sterilization of medical equipment, among others.

The company is also looking forward to PNRI’s upgrading of its Cobalt-60 Multipurpose Irradiation Facility (MIF) as it intends to enter into a block-time agreement with PNRI for operating the facility.

The first and only facility of its kind in the country established in 1989, PNRI’s own facility has been regularly used for radiation processing of thousands of tons of food, spices, medical equipment and other raw materials on a semi-commercial scale for various clients from the commercial and industrial sectors.

Once completed, the upgrading of the MIF into a fully-automated facility will increase the volume of products processed, while also allowing for more flexibility in irradiating products as well as a safer environment for the facility operators.

PNRI also operates the Electron Beam Irradiation Facility as well as smaller facilities such as the Gammacell-220 and the Ob-servo Sanguis irradiators, which are being used for several applications in industry, medicine and advanced research studies.

Radiation processing is being used worldwide to decontaminate and sterilize various products, extending their shelf-life and generally improving the quality of consumer goods both for local consumption and for exports. These goods do not become radioactive but can penetrate through the packaging, allowing it to clear the microbes without degrading the products.

DOST continues to push for the private sector to invest in the growth of the irradiation service industry in the Philippines, ensuring that science and technology-based industries will keep up with its neighboring countries.