The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has donated $2.5 million towards the initiative of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to modernise its Seibersdorf laboratories (ReNuAL2). This will contribute to strengthening the nuclear and radiological regulatory capabilities to maximise the uses of nuclear techniques and provide resources and services to IAEA member states to ensure the safe use of nuclear technology.
Saudi Arabia has also announced a donation of $1 million to support the IAEA's initiative for Zoonotic Diseases Integrated Action (ZODIAC), launched to help prevent the outbreaks of infectious zoonotic diseases with the use of nuclear techniques and strengthen the preparedness and response, and early detection of their causes.
The IAEA maintains eight nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria. They support and implement activities that respond to the developmental needs of member states in a range of subject areas, conduct applied research and development, deliver training and capacity-building to member states and provide technical and analytical services.
The laboratories were built in 1962. Since then, the number of IAEA member states has more than doubled, as have the requests for laboratory assistance. The laboratories, however, have not received a comprehensive renovation or thorough upgrading of equipment since their inauguration over 50 years ago. As a result, they increasingly struggle to respond to the needs of member states. IAEA therefore established the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories project (ReNuAL), which seeks to support their modernisation.
Image: The IAEA's laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria (courtesy of IAEA)