First Research Reactor Installed in Bolivia’s Multi-Purpose Irradiation Facility Inauguration

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Recently, the multi-purpose irradiation facility (MIC) under construction by Rosatom for the Bolivian Atomic Energy Agency (ABEN), was inaugurated at the Centre for Nuclear Research and Technology (CNRT) in Bolivia, in El Alto.

JSC GSPI (State Specialized Design Institute, which is part of Rosatom) and ABEN signed the contract for the construction of the CNRT in 2017.

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It is said that the CNRT facility under construction is at an altitude of 4000 meters above sea level. The first research reactor in Bolivia’s reactor vessel was installed during the inaugural ceremony. The President of Bolivia, Luis Alberto Arce Catacora, as well as the Director General of Rosatom, Alexey Likhachev (via video link), attended the ceremony.

In March, the initial stages of the CNRT’s construction were put into operation. The Centre for Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy, is equipped with a radio pharmacological complex and a cyclotron, or particle accelerator.

The second stage in construction is the associated MIC, which is fitted with the industrial gamma plant. The reactor complex and laboratory buildings, which are part of the center’s third and fourth stages, remain under construction.

Specialists from the Research Institute for Atomic Reactors (NIIAR, a part of Rosatom) in Dimitrovgrad, Russia, developed the 200 kWt pool-type SM-3 high-precision research reactor unit. A test assembly of the facility was completed onsite in May. The reactor’s upgraded core, which will last 50 years in service, was recently developed by NIIAR.

Scheduled date for the completion of the multi-purpose irradiation facility construction

2025 is the targeted completion date for the center’s facility construction.

Bolivia will be able to carry out fundamental and applied scientific research thanks to the research reactor complex. This complex will support the nation’s economy in an array of sectors, including the lithium sector. In addition to supporting radioisotope production, the research reactor also trains future nuclear facility employees.

Luis Alberto Arce Catacora said that the multi-purpose irradiation center would enable them to process agricultural products. It would also enable them to export these products. This export would be in compliance with the standards needed to enter international markets.

Likhachev expressed delight that Bolivia is effectively integrating advanced nuclear technology into economically relevant social sectors with the support of the Russian Federation.

In the meantime, a contract to deliver prototype sampling probes for the CNRT has been signed by Russia’s Instrument Manufacturing Plant (PSZ).The plant will manufacture sample probes. It will also distribute them to Bolivian construction sites according to an agreement with the State Specialized Design Institute (GSPI).

The devices are elements of the radiation monitoring air sampling system at the research reactor that is currently being built. The selection of radioactive gas-aerosol media is their task.