Ramesh Prasad Bhushal
KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) is working on eight nuclear projects to be submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in July.
"The projects to be funded by IAEA will be submitted to the Vienna-based international atomic watchdog's headquarters," said MoST joint secretary Arjun Kumar Karki.
IAEA officials have frequently visited Nepal since the country became its member in July 2008. Following the visits of the then Director General of IAEA Mohamad Elbaradei in September and IAEA Asia and the Pacific Chief of the Technical Cooperation Department, Asia M Maksudi in October last year, Nepal has opened its door for nuclear assistance from IAEA. Maksudi is scheduled to visit Nepal again at the end of this month.
"IAEA has asked us to submit proposals for use of atomic energy in various sectors like agriculture, health and other research purposes. In the first phase, the eight projects will focus on building human resources in this field," said MoST secretary Dr Ramhari Aryal.
According to Karki, who also liaises between Nepal government and IAEA, the national framework will be submitted to IAEA headquarters soon. "IAEA will help in our efforts to harness nuclear technology. We will hold broader discussions to this effect during Maksudi's visit," said Karki.
However, Nepal has no plans to go for nuclear power generation as of now. "IAEA doesn't support establishing nuclear power reactors, but the door is open for help in nuclear power generation," added karki.
The ministry had prepared the national nuclear policy in 2007. It has mentioned nuclear technology as an alternative to large hydro projects.