DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña (second from right) and DOST-PNRI Director Dr. Carlo A. Arcilla (rightmost) cheer on as Walter W. Brown, chair of the A Brown Company, Inc, leads the official groundbreaking of the Tanay Electron Beam and Cold Storage Facility on May 13, 2022 in Brgy Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal. The facility will be headed by Irradiation Solutions Inc. President Paul Francis B. Juat (third from right). [Niña Grace S. Pineda | PNRI-Nuclear Information and Documentation Section]
First commercial irradiation facility to rise in Tanay, Rizal
The first commercial multipurpose irradiation facility in the Philippines has laid the grounds for construction in Tanay, Rizal last Friday, May 13, 2022. The facility, under the Irradiation Solutions Inc. (ISI), a 100% subsidiary of A Brown Company Inc. (ABCI), will be the first private company in the country to offer commercial electron beam (e-beam) irradiation services, with provision for cold storage. This privately-operated facility shall cater to clients in food, medical devices, commercial products, pharmaceutical, and packaging industries.
In an e-beam process, products are exposed to continuous beams of electrons which damage and destroy microorganisms and pathogens, resulting in sterilized products that have a longer shelf life.
ISI will be using a 10-million-electron-volt (MeV) e-beam accelerator manufactured for commercial irradiation and sterilization application. This will sterilize medical masks, dressings, syringes, surgical staplers, and other single-use medical devices. It will also make agricultural and fishery products to be of export quality and gain wider access to international markets.
Over the past 30 years, e-beam technology has been widely accepted globally and more than 1,200 e-beam irradiation facilities are currently operating worldwide.
DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) Director Carlo A. Arcilla said that ABCI and ISI realized DOST’s commitment to help set-up a private irradiation facility. DOST-PNRI will assist in the training of the future workers of the ISI irradiation facility on the different aspects of the irradiation process.
Last year, local government officials of Barangay Sampaloc, Tanay had an educational visit to the PNRI e-beam irradiation facility to learn about the irradiation processes and equipment used.
The Tanay municipal council initially had doubts on irradiation technology, according to Tanay Mayor Rex Manuel Tanjuatco. But ISI’s presentations based on comprehensive research and the LGU’s recent educational visit to the irradiation facility in DOST-PNRI helped win the nods of the local government officials.
Consequently, they are now anticipating the creation of more jobs and other opportunities as a result of this new facility, which is expected to create an impact to the local economy.
ISI President Paul Francis Juat described irradiation technology as a “proven safe technology” that can further the growth of various industries and help in developing the downstream industries. He is in high hopes that after two years of technical planning and preparation, the 11,700-square meter irradiation facility will be operational after 15 months. (Michael Angelo C. Sia | PNRI-Nuclear Information and Documentation Section)
Aerial perspective of the Tanay Electronic Beam irradiation facility. [Courtesy of Irradiation Solutions Inc.]
Clients at the DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute can now have safer, more convenient transactions at PNRI’s one-stop shop for business transactions called iPOSSH or the Interim PNRI One-Stop-Shop. (Photo by Niňa Grace S. Pineda | PNRI-Nuclear Information and Documentation Section)
PNRI enhances one-stop shop for biz transactions
The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) recently relaunched its one-stop shop for business transactions with enhanced features. Called iPOSSH, or the Interim PNRI One-Stop-Shop, the site serves as the centralized venue for nuclear services transactions with DOST-PNRI’s clients.
Clients transacting for various services of PNRI are directed to the iPOSSH after an online appointment is completed. At the iPOSSH, clients can pay for the services they want to avail of and will be issued official receipts onsite.
“iPOSSH has been established years ago, but the pandemic prompted the Institute to make it more accessible but at the same time safe for the clients,” said Dr. Preciosa Corazon Pabroa, PNRI’s Nuclear Services Division chief. “During the pandemic, iPOSSH was relocated near the PNRI back gate to make it easier for the clients to transact.”
As the health protocols eased up, the iPOSSH was refurbished, including the setting up of airconditioning system, to make the place more comfortable for clients, according to Dr. Pabroa.
“It is the Institute’s initiative for ease of doing business to all PNRI customers while keeping PNRI premises secure," she added.
She also explained that it is currently “Interim” because the place will later be expanded physically and its various services will be made available daily. As of this report, transactions for various services are still on a schedule basis.
The Memorandums of Agreement and Understanding for the SWIM Project are signed by the DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute and Isabela State University through PNRI Director Dr. Carlo Arcilla (second from right) and ISU President Dr. Ricmar Aquino (second from left) as witnessed by Dr. Orlando Balderama (leftmost) of the ISU and Dr. Preciosa Corazon Pabroa (rightmost) of the PNRI. (Photo by Niňa Grace Pineda, DOST-PNRI)
Nuclear techniques eyed for more precise hydrology studies
The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) and Isabela State University (ISU) recently inked an accord to conduct collaborative studies that will use nuclear techniques to complement classic hydrology studies.
“Classical hydrology techniques will be carried out by the ISU while PNRI will complement the classic hydrology with isotope techniques to make the results more precise,” said Mr. Raymond Sucgang, PNRI project leader.
The PNRI-ISU collaboration was sealed in the signing of memorandums of agreement and understanding on March 4, 2022. Aside from collaborative research, PNRI through its Nuclear Analytical Techniques Application and ISU will be embarking on academic initiatives to come up with scientific solutions responsive to current water problems.
The project is part of the Smart Water Infrastructure Management (SWIM) Research Project which aims to introduce innovative water management approaches, technologies, and innovation that will address drought, flooding, and sedimentation in the region. It will also develop a water resources management masterplan for the LGUs, and policies and guidelines on integrated water resources management.
“Why establish SWIM R&D Center in Region 2? Because the Cagayan River Basin, the biggest basin and longest river in the country, is a recurring water hazard in the region that produces major crops such as rice, corn, sugarcane, cassava, and tobacco,” explained Dr. Orlando Balderama, ISU project leader.
With funding from the DOST through the Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (NICER) program, the SWIM project will establish a university-based water research center. Said Center will implement R&D education and capacity building programs in the water resources sector and river basins, and provide technical extension services. Research focus will be the Batanes, Isabella. and Cagayan basins.
The Center aims to address through R&D the problems of recurring water hazards in the region due to inclement weather conditions, resulting in damages to agricultural properties. Four component R&D projects to be carried out by the Center are: (1) Smart Water Resources Planning and Development of Water Resources Projects and Interventions; (2) Integrated Assessment and Analysis of Hydraulic Assets for Sustainable and Resilient Flood Control Infrastructures; (3) GIS-Based Decision Support Tool in Managing, Monitoring and Applying Intervention of Water Infrastructure for Smart Cities: Case for Cauayan City; and (4) Smart Water Control Infrastructures for Effective Irrigation Management.
EO 164 first step to nuclear power, nuclear agency says
Executive Order 164 “Adopting a National Position for a Nuclear Energy Program and for Other Purposes” signed on February 28, 2022 by President Rodrigo Duterte is the first step to nuclear power, the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) says.
A national position or policy such as an executive order is the first of the 19 milestones approach prescribed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to assist countries that are considering embarking on a nuclear power program.
The milestones were developed by the IAEA out of the combined best practices in the past 50 years of using nuclear energy, according to PNRI Director Dr. Carlo Arcilla.
“The first milestone is a national policy. It is just the ‘gate.’ And the gate says the Philippines is considering nuclear,” says Dr. Arcilla. “But then we still have to contend with the 18 more milestones. There is still a long series of steps. But without the EO, everything will be theoretical.”
The milestone approach breaks down the activities needed in establishing the infrastructure needed for a nuclear program. Completion of each milestone serves as reference point to decide one’s readiness to proceed to the next phase.
The 19 milestones focus on the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear energy. The EO is anchored on these principles to ensure that the country will apply the highest standards in the implementation of a Nuclear Energy Program.
Included in the policy are the vetting of potential locations of nuclear power plants considering all audits and recommendations, and the development of the nuclear workforce of the Philippines supported by scholarships in nuclear science and engineering, and reactor technician training.
EO 164 was based on a comprehensive study that led to the crafting of a policy encompassing a wide range of issues, including the status of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. Said EO was recommended by the Nuclear Energy Program Interagency Committee (NEPIAC) chaired by the Department of Energy (DOE) and vice-chaired by the DOST. Members are the DOST agencies PNRI, PAGASA, and PHIVOLCS; and the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
Nuclear power is seen to lower electricity costs and contribute to energy security as other energy sources such as natural gas, geothermal, hydro, and coal are diminishing. Through EO 164, nuclear power, which has benefitted several countries across the globe for more than six decades, will now be considered as an option to address the country’s energy concerns.
After setting the policy, the next phase will be the preparatory work for the contracting and construction of a nuclear power plant which includes establishment of legal and regulatory frameworks and public consultations.
In a DOE-commissioned public perception survey, it was found that close to 79 percent of Filipinos approve the possible addition of nuclear energy to the country’s energy mix. (Framelia V. Anonas | PNRI-Nuclear Information and Documentation Section)