Russian President Vladimir Putin on 17 January signed a package of agreements with the Republic of Serbia, which creates a legal basis for the practical implementation of joint projects in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
This is an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the use of nuclear energy based on proven and innovative technologies and included a joint statement on strategic partnership between the construction of a centre for nuclear science, technology and innovation.
“The signing of this intergovernmental agreement marks the beginning of a close and substantive interaction in the field of innovation, digital and scientific and technical cooperation with our historic partner Russia, ” said Nenad Popovich, Serbia’s Minister responsible for innovation and technological development.
The agreement covers areas including assistance in building and improving nuclear power infrastructure in Serbia; designing, constructing and modernising research reactors; developing nuclear medicine; conducting basic and applied research in atomic energy; new technologies and modern digital technologies; the use of radiation technologies in the agriculture, industry, education, training; and retraining of specialists for the nuclear industry.
“We have identified projects in which professional personnel and technical competencies of Russia and Serbia will be combined,” said Alexei Likhachev, director general of Russian state nuclear Corporation Rosatom. "In particular, the project to build a Centre for Nuclear Science, Technology and Innovation in Belgrade will not only give a powerful impetus to bilateral cooperation between Russia and Serbia in a number of innovative areas, including medicine, industry and agriculture, but will also serve as a platform for Central European regional cooperation.” He added that the highest standards of nuclear and radiation safety would be strictly observed for all projects, with a central role for the International Atomic Energy Agency in the development of norms and standards.
The agreement provides for the formation of joint working groups, as well as the exchange of experts, organisation of seminars and conferences, assistance in education and training of scientific and technical personnel, and supply of equipment, materials and components.
The Serbian Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology offered by Rosatom may differ from previous centres exported by Rosatom to countries seeking to gain or develop their competencies in the use of nuclear technologies in medicine, agriculture and other fields. These centres are configured differently different depending on the customer's wishes, Rosatom said. They may include a complex of laboratories, a nuclear medicine centre, and a multifunctional irradiation centre. However, as Serbia already has experience in operating research reactors, the construction of such a centre could either be at the current Institute for Nuclear Research Vinca near Belgrade or a new site.