International cooperation activities for the year 2007 kicked off early with an influx of experts, one fellow, and one scientific visitor being received by PNRI starting January.
A technical visit was conducted by contractors for the upgrading of the Institutes's irradiation facility, and two experts were dispatched by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as part of ongoing Technical Cooperation projects on Water Resources Management and on Soil Erosion Assessment.
This week, from 5 to 9 February, a two-person mission team arrived in connection with the Australian-sponsored Nuclear and Radiological Security Enhancement Project (NRSE). The team is here to help develop and sustain expertise to ensure the safety and security of radioactive sources.
In addition, an IAEA fellow from Mauritius is currently being hosted by PNRI's Entomology group, to train on the Mass Rearing of Fruit Flies, particularly, the Bactrocera philippinensis. The fellow's five-week programme includes field work in Guimaras Island under the auspices of the National Mango Research and Development Center.
Last week, a scientific visit was concluded by an International Cooperation officer from the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, in a bid to observe counterpart activities on programming and projects implementation at PNRI.
This year's observance of the Atomic Energy Week culminated this morning with awarding ceremonies presided over by DOST Undersecretary Fortunato dela Pena and PNRI Director Alumanda M. dela Rosa.
Recognition was conferred on PNRI model employees, service awardees, special AEW commendees, and winners of the poster contest that was held during the week for Quezon City High School students.
The 34th AEW celebration had been a week-long affair that saw approximately 7,000 students and guests flocking to the Institute to tour the different laboratories and facilities, view technical exhibits, and listen to the lectures on the peaceful applications of nuclear technology.
Special guests also graced the occasion, such as Congressman Luis Villafuerte, who keynoted the Opening Ceremonies, DOST Secretary Estrella F. Alabastro, DOTC Assistant Secretary Dante Lantin, former PNRI Director Carlito Aleta, officers from the Nuclear Research Foundation, and other former employees of the Institute.
Both guest speakers during the week - Congressman Villafuerte and DOST Undersecretary dela Pena - acknowledged the role of PNRI in national development and exhorted its staff to intensify their efforts in promoting nuclear technologies as well as in making more people aware of the benefits they bring.
The annual observance of the AEW is, in fact, geared towards such end, hence the yearly opening of PNRI's doors to the public.
For this year, the organization of the AEW celebration was spearheaded by Ms. Estelita G. Cabalfin, who is Officer-in-Charge of PNRI's Nuclear Services and Training Division.
Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte yesterday proposed the integration of nuclear science in Science subjects to increase public awareness of the benefits of nuclear science and technology, especially among the youth.
In his keynote address at the opening ceremonies of the 34th Atomic Energy Week held yesterday at the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) - Department of Science and Technology (DOST) complex in Diliman, Quezon City, Villafuerte said Science subjects should include nuclear science and technology.
"As we have Science subjects (in elementary and high school curriculums, we should) introduce in Science subjects a part that will consist of nuclear science and technology," he said.
"I would like to see a greater awareness of our people about nuclear science and technology. Maybe we should support conferences or even seminars and workshops elsewhere throughout the country in order to create awareness," he said.
Villafuerte, vice-chairman of the Committee on Appropriations and Subcommittee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives, said nuclear science and technology is "a subject that the public has very little understanding of."
He said nuclear science and technology is "feared by a lot of people" as it is usually linked to nuclear weapons.
Citing the mothballed Bataan nuclear power plant, Villafuerte said it is one of the "most misunderstood power generation technology" in the country.
"By and large, it (nuclear power plant) is a very safe technology. There are adequate control procedures to deter and prevent any danger to life, limb and property," he said, adding that other developing and industrialized countries actually use nuclear power plants for power generation.
Aside from public awareness on the benefits of nuclear science through the integration of nuclear S & T in Science subjects, Villafuerte said the country must also provide additional scholarships and trainings to strengthen nuclear S & T in the country.
He said youths should be encouraged to take up courses involving nuclear science and update their knowledge and skills by taking up further studies.
"Konti ang may Master in Science (M.S.) and doctorate (Ph.D.) in nuclear science," Villafuerte observed.
He said to further strengthen nuclear science and technology in the country, the government through PNRI, should put together a comprehensive list or inventory of research and development programs, beneficial uses of nuclear S & T in various fields, including education, food and agriculture, medicine, industrial applications and services.
The inventory must include the existing and additional equipment needed in the pursuit of a stronger nuclear science culture in the country.
Madel R. Sabater, Reporter
Tuesday, 12 December 2006
Mutant ornamental plants... radiation-modified products from carrageenan (a seaweed product) such as hydrogel dressing and plant growth promoter... food products and cosmetic materials treated with radiation... nuclear techniques and services such as gamma irradiation...
These are some of the products and services developed by nuclear technology that will be featured during the celebration of the 34th Atomic Energy Week on December 11 to 15, 2006 at the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) in Diliman, Quezon City. The theme for this year's celebration is Harnessing Nuclear Technology for a Peaceful Tomorrow.
The PNRI is a research and development institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the national authority on nuclear matters.
PNRI Director Alumanda M. dela Rosa said that the AEW celebration aims to generate awareness of the Filipino people on the beneficial uses of nuclear technology in different areas such as in food and agriculture, health and medicine, industry, the environment and on nuclear safety and security.
The keynote speaker for the opening ceremonies on December 11 is Congressman Luis R. Villafuerte, Vice-Chairperson, Committee on Appropriations and Sub-committee on Science and Technology. DOST Secretary Estrella F. Alabastro will give a message.
The daily activities slated for the open house celebration of the Atomic Energy Week are guided tour of the facilities, viewing of exhibits, film showing, radioactive source hunting, and lecture series on nuclear science. The topics for the lecture-series are Fundamental Concepts About Radiation, Biological Effects of Radiation and Radiation Safety; Electricity Generation from Nuclear Power; Radiation Protection and detection; and Effects of Radiation on Ornamental Plants.
An on-the-spot poster making contest for Quezon City high school students will be held on December 13. This activity is sponsored by the Quezon City Office of the Mayor.
For those who are interested to participate in any of the AEW activities and for further information about the celebration, contact Rhodora Leonin or Justina Cerbolles, PNRI Information Officers, at 920-8787 or 929 6010 to 19 ( PNRI Trunkline) local 286.