On October 27th, 2020, the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Agency (ABEN) and Rusatom Overseas JSC, a company of the Rosatom State Corporation that supervises the construction of the Center for Nuclear Technology Research and Development (CNTRD) in El Alto, Bolivia, held a joint webinar called What is a Research Reactor and How Can It Give Impetus to the Development of Bolivia? Representatives of federal and regional state bodies, leading research and development institutions, technical universities and mass media took part in the event. The webinar participants discussed the use of research reactors in different areas, including the production of radioisotopes for nuclear medicine and a number of other sectors of industrial use, agriculture, geology, and historical research.
“The CNTRD project with a research reactor in El Alto is of great importance for Bolivia and the entire Latin American region. It unites technologies and scientific tools that can help significantly increase the quality of people’s lives in the future. The CNTRD will produce radiopharmaceuticals for the first center of nuclear medicine in Bolivia, which will allow to diagnose oncological conditions without the need for local citizens to travel abroad. The center will also open up new vistas for the development of agriculture and export capabilities. Finally, it will be used as training grounds for nuclear physics and related specialists both from Bolivia and other countries, who will later pass their knowledge down to the generations to come. The center will therefore serve as a driver of scientific collaboration and technological development in the region. Apart from its innovations, the project is also unique in terms of its location since it is the first center of the kind built at an altitude of 4,000 m above sea level; its construction in Bolivia will be completed in the foreseen future,” said Alexey Altynov, Head of CNTRD project at Rusatom Overseas.
Apart from the research reactor and radiopharmaceuticals production installation, the Bolivian CNTRD design incorporates a gamma-ray installation to treat agricultural produce in order to improve quality and extend its shelf life. This will provide access to healthy food to a greater number of people, while agricultural companies will be able to boost their production and export capacities. As a result, the CNTRD project in El Alto will give an impetus to Bolivia’s economic and scientific development.
As a part of its local industry development strategy, Rosatom State Corporation engages Bolivian construction companies, which creates jobs domestically, and trains specialists for the future Center. Many of them at the moment are studying nuclear specialties at Russia’s leading technical universities within international educational programs.