Russia and Serbia to build nuclear science facility

By Leila Steed14 December 2021

Signing of the CNST agreements Left to right: Evgeny Pakermanov, President of Rusatom Overseas,and Nenad Popović, Minister of Innovation and Technology Development of Serbia. Source: Press Service of Rusatom Overseas

The Republic of Serbia and Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation, which is known as Rosatom, are to build a new centre for nuclear science and technology (NCST) in Serbia. 

Rosatom, which holds a 17% share of the global nuclear fuel market and is the largest producer of electricity in Russia, signed a General Framework Agreement to construct the new CNST, which is said will “greatly contribute to the development of Serbia by using cutting-edge technologies”. 

While no details relating the value of the project or the centre’s specific location were revealed, the CNST will incorporate a cyclotron complex and radiopharmaceutical production facilities, and will produce radioactive isotopes for use in both medicine and industry.

It will also manufacture doped silicon for use in various industries, and carry out material composition tests of ores, minerals, and environmental samples.

Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom’s Director General, said, “We are very happy that, together with our Serbian partners, we have identified the specific steps and a preliminary timeline for implementing this project, which employs Russian innovative nuclear technologies.

“The radiopharmaceutical complex and the nuclear medicine centre will provide Serbian citizens with high-tech medical solutions to treat, above all, oncology conditions.”

The General Framework Agreement for the project was signed by Nenad Popović, Serbia’s government Minister of Innovation and Technology Development and Chairman of the Intergovernmental Committee for Cooperation with Russia, and Evgeny Pakermanov, the President of Rusatom Overseas, the nuclear technologies subsidiary of Rosatom. 

The two representatives also signed a joint venture agreement to carry out the project.

Rosatom’s subsidiary Rusatom is expected to be the active partner in the construction phase of the CNST. The company has previously supported the construction 150 nuclear research facilities and 22 other CNST projects for scientific technology applications around the world, in countries including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Egypt, Poland, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. 

While parent company Rosatom currently operates approximately 20% of all research reactors existing in the world, it has not been confirmed whether it will operate Serbia’s new CNST, which will built within the next three years.

Pakermanov said, “As part of our joint venture together with our Serbian partners, we will construct a modern radiopharmaceuticals production facility for the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases using the initial stage of construction facilities.

“This will make a significant contribution to the development of advanced nuclear medicine in Serbia and in the region as a whole. We plan to start working on the practical implementation of this project as early as in 2022.”

Described as a “historic day in the relations between Serbia and Russia”, the agreements were signed following a meeting between Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and just a day before Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabich’s visit to Moscow. 

Popović said, “This will help Serbia to address the challenges in healthcare, science and research; we are already receiving requests from our neighbouring countries that would like to use the capacities of the centre and our scientists.

He added, “The signing of these agreements opens up new prospects for the development of relations between Serbia and Russia in the area of nuclear technology.” 

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