Africa Shines at AtomExpo Awards in Sochi
By Kester Kenn Klomegah
The inaugural AtomExpo Awards Event was held during the 10th annual International Forum AtomExpo-2018 in Sochi on May 14, 2018.
It was the first award ceremony for prize-winners and the prestigious awards were aimed at celebrating excellence in the global nuclear industry, and in particular, the guests and participants celebrated companies that significantly contributed to the development of peaceful nuclear technologies for the benefit of mankind.
It was very competitive as a total of fifty-one (51) companies submitted their applications for the competition representing 22 countries: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, United Kingdom, Hungary, Ghana, Germany, Egypt, Zambia, India, Iran, Spain, Kenya, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Russia, Turkey, Finland, France and Republic of South Africa.
The awards comprised of several categories, namely: “Best Launch” (the most promising projects on nuclear programmes implementation); “Nuclear Technologies for better life” (the best projects in the field of non-energy related application of nuclear technologies); “Innovations for the Future” (the best break-through and innovative technology projects); “Public Communication” (the best communication projects) as well as “Human Capital Development” (the best human capital management projects).
The awards caught the attention of the most prominent nuclear organisations across the globe, with 51 applications representing 22 countries, including four African nations, submitted. Independent international juries comprising of global experts in their particular fields examined and reviewed every project from a professional standpoint and shortlisted three nominees for each category.
The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation’s (Necsa’s) NTP Radioisotopes arm, won the AtomExpo Award for the best project in the non-energy related use of nuclear energy, for their project on converting NTP’s 99Mo process from highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low-enriched uranium (LEU).
It took the state owned entity about ten years to convert the process from HEU to LEU, including getting the necessary national and international regulatory approvals. The project started with theoretical feasibility studies in 2007 and cold experiments were completed in 2008.
Necsa chairperson, Dr. Kelvin Kemm, noted that it was wonderful for South Africa to be recognised as one of the world leaders in nuclear medicine. “It validates the country as among the world leaders in nuclear technology research, development and innovation. The entire world looks upon us to produce and distribute this life saving nuclear medicine,” he noted.
The public communications nomination, which was chaired by the Secretary General of the European Nuclear Society, Fernando Naredo, saw non-profit organisation, African Young Generation in Nuclear (AYGN) shortlisted as one of the finalists.
The organisation received a special diploma for the exceptional work they have been doing in not only informing the African public about nuclear, but also in creating opportunities for young Africans to excel in the industry.
Speaking on the sidelines of the awards, AYGN president, Gaopalelwe Santswere, expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the organizers of AtomExpo-2018 for recognizing the efforts of AYGN in public advocacy across the continent.
Santswere said: “I am truly humbled and honoured as a young African and the President of AYGN to be a part of these prestige awards. We highly value that a respected international community such as is this has put such a great emphasis on allowing young people from around the world to flourish, thrive and receive recognition.”
Santswere urged the global nuclear community to continue its support of youth organisations such as AYGN. He concluded, “The youth are the future of the nuclear industry, as young people we are preparing ourselves to take the industry to next level and at the same time improve the quality of life for millions of people across the globe.”
Reference: State Atomic Energy Corporation brings together 340 enterprises and scientific organizations, including all civil nuclear companies of Russia’s nuclear industry, research centers and the world’s only nuclear icebreaker fleet. It holds leading positions in the global market of nuclear technologies and is currently implementing projects to build 42 nuclear power units both in Russia and abroad.
Kester Kenn Klomegah wrote this piece from Moscow.