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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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UN atomic energy director visits A&M

Texas A&M’s role in international nuclear energy was on display this week when the leader of the United Nations’ nuclear energy arm visited campus.
Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, visited a public U.S. university for the first time during his three-day stay at Texas A&M. He touched base with several A&M organizations involved in nuclear power around the world, and designated an A&M facility as an IAEA Collaborating Center.
Kenneth Pedicord, director of Texas A&M’s Nuclear Power Institute, NPI, said the presence of the director general signifies the institute’s effectiveness.
“We’re very pleased, first of all, that he would come, and secondly that he would acknowledge the activities and the role of our Nuclear Power Institute working with the IAEA and fulfilling their mission,” Peddicord said.
Peddicord said the NPI has worked with IAEA for the past five years, along with about 30 nations, to develop nuclear energy.
According to a press release, Amano designated the AgriLife Research’s National Center for Electron Beam Research, NCEBR, as an IAEA Collaborating Center for Electron Beam Technology for Food, Health and Environmental Applications.
Both interim University President Mark Hussey and System Chancellor John Sharp thanked Amano for the privilege of hosting the center.
“It is fitting that the world’s authority on atomic energy has built partnerships with a place known for its ‘atomic spirit,’ global impact and world-renowned tradition of getting things done,” Sharp said.
Suresh Pillai, NCEBR director, said the center also works with the IAEA on a number of projects.
“We use high-energy electrons to do a variety of applications,” Pillai said. “For example, we use it to clean the environment, to make better vaccines, we use it to enhance food, the quality of food, as well as enhance the quality of plastics.”
Pillai said A&M is a global leader in high-energy electron applications, and A&M’s collaboration with the IAEA allows the center to share its knowledge.
“We can help this agency bring this technology to all over the world, and for us it’s a tremendous recognition for the [NCEBR] and for this university,” Pillai said. “This technology will change the quality of life and economies of people around the world.”
Amano also visited the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science’s Diagnostic Imaging and Cancer Treatment Center.
Amano said at a press conference Wednesday that Texas A&M performs an important role in training foreign students to advocate for the prevention of nuclear proliferation in their home countries.
“You have a very extensive network with other countries,” Amano said. “IAEA, for example, brings the students in Kenya to your university, they are trained and go back to their country. Training of these inspectors is very important, and your university is training the inspectors from various countries and this is another example how your university and IAEA can cooperate with each other for the good of the world.”
Amano is scheduled to visit the School of Public Health, Engineering Extension Service’s Emergency Operations Training Center and the Bush School, according to a press release.
Based in Vienna, the IAEA has 162 member states and was established in 1957.

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