The Republic of Zambia and Rosatom, State Atomic Energy Corporation have come together to sign a contract which would ensure the construction of a Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology (CNST).

Signed by the Director-General of State Specialized Design Institute JSC (GSPI), Vyacheslav Galushkov and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education of the Republic of Zambia, Mabvuto Sakala, the project will be recorded as the first joint project between Russia and Zambia in the field of nuclear technology.

General Director of the State Corporation Rosatom, Alexey Likhachev who witnessed the signing said that the contract signing would open new chapters in the partnerships between Russia and Zambia and lead to extensive practical work and engineering surveys that would help Zambia become a leading player in nuclear technology in Central and Southern Africa.

The centre is expected to be located 10 kilometres away from the capital of Zambia, Lusaka and also include a nuclear research facility based on a multipurpose water-cooled reactor of up to 10 MW. It would also have a modern laboratory complex, an irradiation centre and a cyclotron-based nuclear medical bay.

Based on the commencement date stated in the contract, the project is expected to spread through different stages and be completed within 3-6 years.

Research at the centre will focus on application of radiation technologies in medicine, industry and agriculture with the aim of training highly qualified experts in the various fields.

The centre will also produce radioisotopes that will be used to diagnose and treat primarily cancer and cardiac diseases and hence, increase the availability of high-tech nuclear medicine to Zambia’s citizens. There would also be research into how radiation can help in food processing to improve its safety and create conditions to increase Zambia agricultural export.