Mentioning that Bangladesh is solidly anchored at its principled position on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday urged the developing countries to forge greater cooperation to draw maximum benefits from the peaceful uses of nuclear technologies through IAEA expertise.
“Bangladesh remains committed to working with IAEA and other international partners in ensuring due diligence of the peaceful use of nuclear technology. The capacity-building and transfer of technologies are much needed by the developing countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” she said.
The Prime Minister was delivering her statement at the ‘IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme – 60 Years and Beyond: Contributing to Development’ here.
Sheikh Hasina also called for strengthening efforts by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to assists member states, particularly the LDCs and developing countries, implement the SDGs, urging the developed countries to help maintain IAEA resources assured and sufficient for the technical cooperation programmes.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, President of Mauritius Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of Uruguay Tabaré Vázquez and the Chairman of the IAEA Board of Governors also spoke at the programme.
The Prime Minister greeted Yukiya Amano for his leadership and the agency for its dedicated efforts in the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy under its motto ‘Atoms for Peace and Development’ in the last 60 years. “I also thank IAEA for its support to Bangladesh in its development over the last 45 years.”
Recalling that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman decided to establish an Atomic Energy Research Establishment with the aim to transform the war-ravaged country into a prosperous “Golden Bengal”, Sheikh Hasina said in fact a small research reactor has been running successfully in this centre for over 30 years for research, radioisotope production, education and training purpose.
“We regard nuclear energy as a safe, environment-friendly and economically viable source of electricity generation to meet the ever-increasing demand of electricity of the country’s 160 million people. It’ll thus unlock our development potentials through enhanced productivity and sustained growth,” she said.
The Prime Minister said Russia-supported Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant will produce 2,400MW electricity by two reactors. “Our aim is to generate at least 4,000MW electricity from nuclear source by 2030.”
She said Bangladesh enjoys an excellent collaboration with IAEA as it has successfully completed 138 national projects under Technical Cooperation and participated in 111 regional projects under Regional Cooperative Agreement-RCA.
Under the framework of IAEA’s Technical Cooperation programme, Hasina said, Bangladesh has received support in many areas such as promoting nuclear education and research, food safety, food security, human healthcare improvement, use of isotopes techniques in water and environment system management, industrial applications like Non Destructive Testing, crop and livestock improvement and pest control.
Among many activities, she shared with the audience two concrete examples of Bangladesh’s achievement in the peaceful use of nuclear technology.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA) has developed high-yielding, high-nutritive, short-duration, salt- and flood -tolerant and climate-resilient mutant varieties of different crops using nuclear technology, radiation and other advanced techniques.
She said Bangladesh has already developed 92 improved varieties of 13 crops. BINA was awarded with the ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ in 2014 by FAO-IAEA for its contribution towards the achievement of food security.
Hasina said the number of people who can affordably access diagnostic medical care in Bangladesh has increased 10 times over the last 20 years as the country has expanded and strengthened its nuclear medicine services. “Fifteen public and six private nuclear medicine institutes in the country carry out over 400000 nuclear medicine procedures each year in the areas of medical treatments.”
She said the uses of most recent nuclear technologies in the treatment of cancer are a real help to the people of Bangladesh.
“Science, technology and innovation played a major role in our achievement. A group of Bangladeshi scientists deciphered the complete genetic code of jute with a great success. We’ve also devised ‘science diplomacy’ to ensure partnership for sustainable economic development through knowledge generation and sharing,” the Prime Minister added.