Bolivia is investing in nuclear technology

Bolivia is investing in nuclear technology

Bolivia, lagging behind in this technology, aims to have a cyclotron against cancer, a food irradiator and to renew the academic programs at the university, in 2017, Bolivia is investing in nuclear technology.

In 2016, the Bolivian and Russian governments signed several agreements for the construction of the Center for Research and Development in Nuclear Technology, with an investment of USD 300 million in the city of El Alto.
On October 13th, in Santa Cruz, a seminar was held on the subject and the Young Nuclear Foundation of Santa Cruz at the Institute for Excellence in Gas Businesses, part of the Universidad Autónoma Gabriel René Moreno (UAGRM). Students, teachers and professionals had access to the seminar and the opportunity to be part of the development of the Bolivian nuclear program in various fields.

The physicist Silverio Chávez Ríos, professor emeritus of Higher University of San Andrés (UMSA) La Paz, said that almost all countries use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, except Bolivia, despite being a member of the International Atomic Energy Organization since 1963, and attributed it to the lack of state political will. Bolivia has been a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency since 1963, when it signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

According to Chávez, the nuclear program to be implemented possibly when the El Alto power plant works will handle three projects including the operation of a cyclotron, a circular path particle accelerator used in medicine.
This reactor will decrease the number of unnecessary examinations and invasive or surgical interventions will be avoided. In oncology, cancerous tumors and early metastases can be detected with precision. In cardiology it allows measuring myocardial metabolism, blood flow and the existence of living tissue in areas of infarction; in neurology, it detects benign brain tumors, congenital diseases, epileptogenic foci and degenerative diseases, among others.

The second project is the nuclear irradiator to purify food. With this reactor, the radioactive isotopes emitting gamma radiation with cobalt-60 kill microorganisms, such as bacteria or fungi that cause food spoilage, changing their molecular structure and preventing their proliferation. It can also reduce the maturation process by altering the physiological processes of its tissues without breaking down its nutritional properties.
“With this process, fruit and cereal producers will be able to export their products, as Chile, Peru and other countries do,” Chavez said.

The third plan is the training of new professionals in this area. Universities must renew their academic programs, creating new careers, postgraduate courses, with the hope of using that El Alto nuclear power plant to train physicists, physicians, radiologists, radiobiologists, hydrologists, etc., with nuclear techniques.

The seminar was attended by several professionals with knowledge in the field, including Manolo Enrique Trujillo, president of the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Society (Soboen), one of the promoters of the event, for whom Bolivia has the great challenge of expand its nuclear program and modify from the legislation that allows to develop energy under international standards.

“We are thinking about the first postgraduate course this year with academic support from Mexican and Brazilian scientists,” said Trujillo, who revealed that university engineers in La Paz have taken advantage of scholarships for computer security courses in nuclear facilities, nuclear law, nuclear medicine applications, options professionals who do not reach the students of Santa Cruz and other departments.
Oswaldo Ulloa, acting rector of the UAGRM, will confirm the postgraduate course, pointed out that nuclear energy is beneficial and through it one should look for alternative energy sources to which Bolivia generates with the exploitation of oil and natural gas.
Manolo Enrique Trujillo, president of Soboen, explained that the nuclear power plant designed in El Alto will not represent any risk because it is for charitable purposes, not war.

At the end of the seminar, yesterday, a notary of public faith endorsed the creation of the Foundation of Young Nuclear of Santa Cruz, which was born to light with about a dozen members.

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Arnaud Lefevre

Arnaud Lefevre is the Chief Executive Officer of Dynatom International. Arnaud is in charge of the international development of the business portfolio.