The controversial construction of the Chongwe Nuclear and Technology Research Centre in Chongwe will go ahead after Zambia and Russia signed a general contract to kick start its construction.
This is despite the residents of Chongwe including the local leadership in the area rejecting the project.
Last week, the Zambian government and Russia’s Rosatom have signed a general contract for the construction of a Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology (CNST).
The signing took place during the 10th international Atomexpo-2018 forum in Sochi which ran from May 14-18th.
The Construction of the center is the first joint project of Russia and Zambia in the field of nuclear technologies.
Ministry of Higher Education Permanent Secretary Mabvuto Sakala signed on behalf of Zambia while General Director of State Specialized Design Institute JSC (GSPI) Vyacheslav Galushkov signed for Russia.
The signing was witnessed by Minister of Energy of Mathew Nkhuwa and General Director of State Corporation Rosatom Alexey Likhachev.
General Director of the State Corporation Rosatom Alexey Likhachev said, “Signing the contract opens a new chapter in the partnership between Russia and Zambia. In the nearest future, we plan to start extensive practical works, including engineering surveys at the site of the centre, assessment of nuclear infrastructure and subsequent development plan in accordance with IAEA recommendations as well as global and Russian best practice.”
Mr. Likhachev said construction of the center will enable Zambia to become one of the leading players in nuclear technologies application in the Central and Southern African region.
The center will be located 10 kilometers away from Lusaka in Chongwe.
The CNST will include a nuclear research facility based on a multipurpose research water-cooled reactor of up to 10 MW, a state of the art laboratory complex, multipurpose irradiation center as well as a cyclotron-based nuclear medicine center.
The project will be implemented in several stages within 3-6 years from the work commencement date under the contract.
The Center will ensure wide application of radiation technologies in medicine, industry and agriculture.
The CNST will also promote the growth of national education and science through the training of highly qualified experts in various fields.
The radioisotopes produced will be used to diagnose and treat primarily cancer and cardiac diseases, which will generally increase availability of high-tech nuclear medicine for Zambia’s population.
The use of radiation for food processing will improve food safety and create conditions for the increase of Zambian agricultural exports.