14:11 GMT07 March 2021
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    Russia is ready to offer top nuclear expertise to Zambia while helping the African country set up its own nuclear energy industry, Alexey Likhachev, the CEO of Russia's Rosatom state corporation, said Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, the Russian and Zambian governments signed an intergovernmental agreement to jointly build a nuclear science research center in Zambia. The document was signed by Likhachev and Zambia's National Development Planning Ministry Permanent Secretary Simon Miti.

    "This is the start of a new task to create a nuclear industry in Zambia. Many plans lie ahead, including joint projects that will focus around a research reactor…. Russia is ready to share the best expertise at each stage," Likhachev said.

    Russia will also help Zambia train qualified personnel to work in the center, he added, expressing hope for the new project to bring economic benefits to the country.

    The center will be built around a 10-megawatt experimental water cooled reactor and will have a range of laboratories and facilities for producing radioisotopes used to diagnose and treat cancer, and sterilizing food and agricultural products to extend their shelf life and protect them from insects, thus allowing Zambia to increase exports. The center will also prepare qualified personnel that will service Zambia's future nuclear industry.

    The deal was inked after the two nations agreed last May to cooperate in the field of peaceful nuclear energy, at the Atomexpo 2016 forum in Moscow.

    Russia has been cooperating with non-nuclear countries, including Nigeria, Bolivia and Vietnam, to help them harness nuclear energy to treat diseases and sterilize food. Research centers usually allow to take further steps in developing an indigenous nuclear industry.


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