Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Roland Msiska on Tuesday welcomed an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) duo who paid a courtesy call on him at Cabinet Office.
Mr Christophe Xerri, the Director Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology Department of Nuclear Energy and Mr Abdellah Chahid who is in charge of training in nuclear met Dr Msiska and a team of Permanent Secretaries to discuss Zambia’s nuclear programme.
Zambia is in the process of building a Centre for Nuclear Science Technology after recently signing the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract with Russian State Company Rosatom.
Dr Msiska said Zambia’s nuclear programme is for peaceful means and that the IAEA officials have come at the right time because most of the things are yet to be done.
The Centre will have a Nuclear Medicine Centre, Research Reactor Simulator, and a multipurpose irradiation, among other things.
With these facilities, the centre will produce isotopes used in the treatment of cancer and will also irradiate food products for long shelf life.
About nuclear programme fears, Dr Msiska used an analogy that; “… people die of drinking water, yet they do not stop drinking water. The Centre will have a huge capability for research for the development of our country.”
Dr Msiska told the visiting officials that the officers seconded to the Interim Secretariat for Nuclear Science Technology (ISNST) will be transferred to the Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organisation (NEPIO) and later to Zamatom, the company that will run the nuclear project in Zambia.
Mr Xerri told Dr Msiska that Zambia needs to build capacity in the nuclear area to be independent and that the IAEA was motivated to help the country.
“We can render support in safety aspects but you need to establish your own model. You need to be a knowledgeable customer. You also need to do a feasibility study and a peer review,” he said.