Thanks to receipt of additional funding, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Flexible Modular Laboratory (FML), currently under construction, remains on track to be completed by the end of 2018. It will comprise three laboratories dealing with animal production and health, food safety, soil and water management and crop nutrition.

The three laboratories will support the joint division of the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The IAEA said on 3 October that it would be able to complete construction of a second new laboratory facility in support of global health and development thanks to contributions totalling €4.7m ($5.5m) from Germany, Japan, Norway and the USA.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano last month informed the Board of Governors that extra-budgetary funds were urgently required to keep construction of the FML on schedule. With Japan’s announcement of a €1m contribution, the required target of €4.7m was achieved. The USA had pledged $3.1m (approximately €2.6m) and Germany €1m on 18 September. Norway pledged €100,000 on 29 September. It was Norway’s second pledge after a contribution of €300,000 announced in June.

It is part of a wider project called ReNuAL and the follow-up ReNuAL+ to renovate and modernise all of the IAEA’s eight laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria. The facilities assist countries in using nuclear science and technology to achieve their development goals. Last week, the IAEA inaugurated another building in Seibersdorf, the Insect Pest Control Laboratory, also as part of the renovation initiatives.

“The modernisation of the nuclear applications laboratories is one of the most important projects ever undertaken by the Agency,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said. In total, the IAEA has raised almost €32m in extra-budgetary funds from different donors, including 31 member states, for the nuclear application laboratories.  

Photo: The IAEA's Flexible Modular Laboratory, currently under construction, is expected to be completed by the end of 2018 with the new funding (Credit: IAEA)