Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam Renew and Scale-Up South-South Cooperation Through Practical Arrangements with IAEA Support

By October 24, 2022 October 24, 2022 News

Under the terms of the Arrangements, Viet Nam will expand the support available to counterpart institutions in Cambodia and Lao PDR, particularly through the Vietnam Atomic Energy Agency (VAEA). (Photo: Lao PDR NDT Centre)

Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam have agreed to expand their ongoing triangular cooperation in the application of nuclear technology, and to extend their cooperation agreement for a further five years. The three countries have been working together since September 2019, when, following months of deliberations, national representatives signed a series of Practical Arrangements (PAs) establishing a framework for South-South cooperation in non-destructive testing (NDT), nuclear medicine and mutation breeding. Last month, on the margins of the 66th International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference, delegates from the three Southeast Asian countries met once again to expand their triangular cooperation into new areas of activity, and to extend this cooperation for an additional five years.

On 27 September, the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology of Viet Nam, Le Xuan Dinh; the State Secretary of Mines and Energy of Cambodia, Ung Eang; the Deputy Minister of Education and Sport of Lao PDR, Sourioudong Sundara and IAEA Deputy Director General Hua Liu signed Practical Arrangements through which Viet Nam will support both short- and long-term education and training programmes in Cambodia and Lao PDR, with the Agency acting as an intermediary.

Viet Nam will furthermore backstop the national technical cooperation programmes of its neighbours by providing experts and lecturers to institutions of nuclear science and technology in Cambodia and Lao PDR. Viet Nam will also make its technical facilities, including analytical laboratories, available to the other signatories of the Arrangements, which will ensure that Viet Nam’s multi-faceted support includes practical and hands-on elements.

Renewing and Expanding South-South Cooperation

Since 2019, Viet Nam has dramatically expanded the support available to counterpart institutions in Cambodia and Lao PDR, particularly through the Viet Nam Atomic Energy Agency (VAEA), the Viet Nam Atomic Energy Institute (VINATOM) and the Viet Nam Agency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety (VARANS), all of which have provided a series of virtual and in-person workshops and courses to benefit Laotian and Cambodian experts working in NDT, radiation protection and processing. Following these capacity building activities, and on the basis of an Action Plan developed in 2018, Viet Nam has also supported the establishment of a Non-Destructive Testing and Nuclear Engineering Centre in Lao PDR, which has also received critical equipment, training in advanced techniques and laboratory management from the IAEA.

In September 2021, following the organization of a virtual workshop on radiation protection, nuclear safety and inspections, facilitated by VARANS and VINATOM for the benefit of technical officers at Cambodia’s Department of Nuclear Science and Technology, the trainees carried out their own training courses on the use of radiation detection equipment in January and April 2022, multiplying the effects of the original capacity building, for approximately 50 workers at Cambodian industrial facilities.

Follow-up consultative meetings among the parties were held in March and July this year to review the priority needs of the beneficiary countries, and to discuss the institutional and human capacities to be provided by Vietnamese institutions. This resulted in the development of a consolidated Action Plan for the current national technical cooperation programmes of Cambodia and Lao PDR during the 2022-2023 IAEA technical cooperation cycle. The Action Plan addresses identified gaps with the goal of improving existing radiation safety infrastructure and regulatory functions, and scaling-up nuclear applications across all priority areas.

The successful triangular cooperation between Viet Nam and Laos PDR, and Viet Nam and Cambodia, was showcased at the Global South-South Development Expo held in Thailand in September 2022.

Originally posted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). To read the original article, please click here.