FNCA   Coordinators


The Introduction of the Coordinators

FNCA Coordinators Meeting

Participants List


Summary Report of the 19th FNCA Coordinators Meeting
22 March 2018, Tokyo, Japan

Group Photo

The 19th FNCA Coordinators Meeting (CDM) was held on March 22, 2018, in Tokyo, Japan, hosted by the Cabinet Office of Japan (CAO) and the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), and co-hosted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan. Chairperson of the Meeting was Mr. Tomoaki WADA, FNCA Coordinator of Japan.
The Meeting was attended by delegates from 11 member countries; Australia, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Regional Cooperation Agreement for Research, Development and training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology for Asia and the Pacific (RCA) Regional Office participated to the meeting as observer. The Republic of Korea was absent due to schedule conflict.
The summary of the ten sessions of this Meeting is as follows:

Session 1: Opening Session
Welcome remarks from Dr. Yoshiaki OKA, Chairman of JAEC and Mr. Hideo SHINDO, Deputy Director General for Science, Technology and Innovation, CAO followed opening remarks from Mr. WADA. Dr. OKA introduced Basic Policy for Nuclear Energy of Japan and wished success of the meeting and further development of FNCA activities. Mr. SHINDO introduced related activities namely International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC) and IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology as well as FNCA outline, and mentioned that he will strive to raise awareness of FNCA among international nuclear community.
After the self-introduction by each participant, the Meeting agenda was adopted without any amendment.

Photo of Dr Oka Photo of Mr Wada
Photo of Mr Shindo
Above left: Dr Oka, Chairman of JAEC
Above right: Mr Wada, FNCA Coordinator of Japan
Below: Mr Shindo, Deputy Director General for Science, Technology and
Innovation, Cabinet Office, Japan (CAO)

Session 2: Summary Report of the Ministerial-level Meeting (MLM) in 2017
Dr. Vladimir VITYUK, Scientific Secretary, National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan reported overview of 18th MLM held in October 2017, Astana, Kazakhstan. The meeting held policy discussions under the theme "Application of Nuclear Science and Technology for Protection of Environment" and concluded with the adoption of a joint communique mentioning actions to take such as "themes and activities to be promoted" and "assistance and cooperation for addressing issues of protection of environment".

Session 3: Report of project activities and outcomes on Radiation Utilization Development
1. Mutation Breeding
This project has been using mutation breeding technology with irradiation to crops that are highly needed in Asian countries, and aims to establish new varieties with higher yield and more resistance to various environmental stress under climate change in order to promote sustainable agriculture.
In this meeting it was reported that current activities on "Application of Mutation Breeding of Rice for Sustainable Agriculture" were successfully concluded, in which most of the member countries developed new mutant varieties, and some of the varieties have already been put to practical use and have resulted in a substantial big economic effect. New activity titled "Mutation Breeding of Major Crops for Low-input Sustainable Agriculture under Climate Change" was also proposed to be started in 2018.

This project has been applying technology of radiation sterilization to biofertilizer production and developing biofertilizer with better quality and multifunction having both plant growth promoting activities and plant pathogen suppression in order to promote environmentally friendly agriculture.
In this meeting the outcomes of the 3-year activities such as development of various types of multi-functional biofertilizers and dissemination to end-users, publication of guideline Vol. 2 "Production of Biofertilizer Carrier using Radiation Technology", and contribution to sustainable agriculture by reducing massive use of chemical fertilizer were introduced. It was also proposed that the project would merge with Electron Accelerator Application Project in 2018.

3. Electron Accelerator Application
This project has been developing radiation processing technology such as radiation degradation, crosslinking, and grafting to produce oligochitosan plant growth promoter and super water absorbents as soil conditioners using indigenous natural polymers. Those materials are being tested on field.
In this meeting it was reported that development of environmentally friendly products such as plant growth promoters and super water absorbent gave the economic benefit to participating countries in terms of yield increment of crops for outcomes of 3-year activities. And new activity themed "Radiation Processing and Polymer Modification Project (tentative)" was proposed to be started in 2018, which would integrate Biofertilizer Project.

4. Interpretation of Climate Change Mechanism (Climate Change Science Project)
The aim of this project, which was launched in 2017 in response to a suggestion of Australia, is to understand the mechanism and the process of climate change in the past through nuclear technology-based methods and analyses, and to gain and share the knowledge to interpret phenomena that cause climate change.
In the Coordinators Meeting this year, the outline of this project and the result of the first workshop meeting were reported including the two major themes of the project i.e. Climate Archives and Carbon Storage. Also, Seafood Provenance was introduced as a potential project candidate from Australia, to be perhaps considered at a future Coordinators Meeting.

5. Radiation Oncology
This Project has been establishing optimal treatments and improving treatment results for cancers that are common in Asia, and also disseminating radio therapeutic methods throughout Asia.
In this meeting it was reported that long-standing clinical studies on cervical, nasopharyngeal and breast cancers have produced favorable treatment outcomes and treatment protocols have become the standard protocols in member countries. The efforts on a new clinical study for cervical cancer with state-of-the-art technology, improving quality of radiotherapy by QA/QC audits in member countries, education, and enhancing international cooperation were also introduced.

Session 4: Report of project activities and outcomes on Research Reactor Utilization Development
1. Research Reactor Utilization
This project has been promoting mutual collaboration among researchers in Asian countries on research reactors used for multipurpose and aims to contribute to the personnel training of researchers concerned with the research reactors of each Asian country, based on the experience of the research reactor in Japan.
Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) group reported that they have run their activities on air pollution and mineral resources smoothly and continued to maintain and grow productive linkages with end-users. Research Reactor Utilization (RRU) group reported that they have exchanged information and discussed two topics on medical/industrial RI production and new research reactor, and chose Boron Neutron Capture Therapy and material research for future topics.

Session 5: Report of project activities and outcomes on Nuclear Safety Strengthening
1. Radiation Safety and Radioactive Waste Management
This Project has been improving radiation safety in FNCA countries by sharing knowledge. In order to assure radiation safety for the public, FNCA countries also share information on appropriate treatment and disposal of radioactive waste management as well as the environmental impact.
In this meeting it was reported that they have shared current status on low-level radioactive waste repository, radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel management, and also been working on "Consolidated Report on Low-level Radioactive Waste Repository" for one of 3-year activities plan.

Session 6: Report of project activities and outcomes on Nuclear Infrastructure Strengthening
1. Nuclear Security and Safeguards
This project has been enhancing nuclear security and safeguards by sharing knowledge and information, and cooperation in developing human resources for redouble securement of nuclear safety, security and safeguards to promote peaceful use of nuclear power.
In this meeting it was reported that they have proceeded various discussions on 1) nuclear security (nuclear forensics, nuclear security culture, security of radioactive sources), 2) safeguards (implementation of Additional Protocol), 3) human resource development on nuclear security and safeguards.

Session 7: IAEA/RCA Activities Reports and Cooperation between RCA and FNCA
RCA is an intergovernmental agreement for the East Asia and Pacific region, under the auspices of the IAEA, in which the Government Parties undertake, in cooperation with each other and with the IAEA to promote and coordinate cooperative research, development and training projects in nuclear science and technology. Currently twenty two member countries (including 11 FNCA member countries and 11 non-FNCA member countries (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka etc.)) participate in the RCA.
Mr. JinKyu LIM, Head of Administration Division, RCA Regional Office attended this meeting and presented activities of RCA projects and Regional Office. Meeting agreed that FNCA and RCA would continue information sharing and mutual attendance of their meetings in the field of mutation breeding, radiation oncology and electron accelerator application for future cooperation, and promote their activities and mutual understanding in order to enhance the cooperation.
A Scene of the Meeting
A Scene of the Meeting

Session 8: Proposals for the New Projects
Details of the new project proposal on "Research and Development on Risk Communication Strategy for Nuclear Power Plant or Research Reactor Project" was explained by Thailand.
It was pointed out that budgetary support for new project proposals has not been specified in the new framework, and secretariat responded that the framework has been just started and should be gradually improved through its implementation. The secretariat also mentioned that this issue would be discussed at the next Senior Officials Meeting (SOM).

Session 9: Discussion on Future Policy of FNCA Activities
Mr. WADA presented results of ex-ante evaluation on three project proposals and encouraged Coordinators to make comments on each proposal. After discussion the Meeting agreed to launch two new projects, namely Mutation Breeding Project and Radiation Processing and Polymer Modification Project (tentative) (integrated Biofertilizer Project into Electron Accelerator Application Project). Proposal on "Research and Development on Risk Communication Strategy for Nuclear Power Plant or Research Reactor Project" was turned down since several countries assigned a low score. However, it was recommended that the proposal be revised and re-submitted at the next CDM, as it is relevant to the new direction of FNCA MLM 2016. Then evaluation of the projects turning final year of the current phase were presented and confirmed. Lastly activity plan in JFY2018 were presented and agreed.

Session 10: Closing
Mr. WADA provided draft Conclusion and Recommendation of the meeting, which will be circulated among member countries for their review and correction if any.

Conclusions and Recommendations of the 19th FNCA Coordinators Meeting

1. The Coordinator’s Meeting ("the meeting") appreciated that the FNCA activities were effectively implemented in JFY 2017 and have achieved significant outcomes benefiting member countries.
2. Based on the Joint Communiques of the 18th FNCA Ministerial-Level Meeting (MLM) on the new direction of the FNCA, the meeting agreed to further accelerate FNCA’s activities related to the application of nuclear science and technology with the main focus in the areas of environment protection, health/medicine and agriculture by actively endorsing projects such as "Mutation Breeding", "Radiation Processing and Polymer Modification", "Radiation Oncology", and "Research on Climate Change", as well as promote projects in the areas of nuclear safety and security culture, which will lead to sustainable development in each member country.
3. The meeting implemented end-of-project evaluation on three projects, namelya) Mutation Breeding, b) Biofertilizer, and c) Electron Accelerator Application, which will terminate at the end of March 2018. The evaluation results and comments on these projects are as follows.
a) Mutation Breeding
  • This project has developed mutant varieties of rice that are resistanttovariousenvironmental stresses, such as drought, heat, cold, flood, salinity, wide range of temperature, diseases and pests.
  • A number of mutant varieties of rice have been officially registered for release to farmers, which would be of high economic benefit to member countries.
  • Some of the experimental data obtained in this project suggests the possibility of developing mutant varieties of rice that are suitable for low input agriculture in the near future.
b) Biofertilizer
  • Various types of multifunctional biofertilizers have been developed and disseminated to end-users in many member countries.
  • "FNCA Guideline Vol.2 Production of Biofertilizer Carrier Using Radiation Technology Sterilization",which gives the procedure for the production of biofertilizer with improved quality and longer shelf, was published in March 2018.
c) Electron Accelerator Application
  • This project aimed to develop high performance PGP (plant growth promotor) and SWA (super water absorbent) by radiation processing of natural polymers to enhance crop yields.
  • Many member countries have successfully developed PGPs and obtained high yields of popular crops by using them. Some have been commercialized.
  • "FNCA Guidelines on Development of Hydrogel and Oligosaccharides by Radiation Processing" was revised in 2017.
4. With improved procedures for evaluating project proposals endorsed at the 17th MLM, all FNCA coordinators carried out ex-ante evaluation of three project proposals from project leaders in terms of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact, and sustainability. As a result, the meeting agreed to launch a new three-year project, namely "Radiation Processing and Polymer Modification for Agricultural, Environmental and Medical Applications" (Integration of Electron Accelerator Application Project and Biofertilizer Project), and begin a new phase of the"Mutation Breeding" project for five years, with the following comments.
5. Several member countries assigned a low score to the project proposal "Research and Development on Risk Communication Strategy for Nuclear Power Plant or Research Reactor Project" on four evaluation criteria. On this basis, the proposal was rejected according to the guidelines on evaluating new project proposals. However, it was recommended to revise and re-submit the proposal at the next CDM, as the new proposal is relevant to the new direction of FNCA MLM 2016 and received a positive evaluation in terms of other criteria addressed in the original proposal.
6. The meeting suggested that the detailed procedure for budgeting new projects, which is a crucial issue in launching new projects practically, should be discussed at the next SOM.
7. The meeting discussed progress on five on-going projects in the fields of radiation utilization development, research reactor utilization, nuclear safety strengthening, and nuclear infrastructure strengthening, namely the projects of "Research on Climate Change using Nuclear and Isotopic Techniques", "Radiation Oncology", "Research Reactor Utilization", "Radiation Safety and Radioactive Waste Management", and "Nuclear Security and Safeguards". The meeting acknowledged that the projects were successfully implemented with the effective cooperation of member countries. The comments to each project are as follows:
  a) Since 3D-IGBT (three dimensional image-guided brachytherapy), which is a state-of-the-art radiation therapy for cervical cancer, is used in the treatment protocol of a new clinical study (CERVIX-V), the meeting suggested holding a hands-on-training course on 3D-IGBT during the workshop in 2018 to train radiation oncologists and medical physicists.
  b) Since radiocarbon dating by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is available only in Australia and Japan, the meeting recommended that, for those countries planning to perform radiocarbon dating as part of their studies, the Research on Climate Change Project should aim to provide technology transfer and human resource development so that those countries can gain the techniques of pre-processing of samples for radiocarbon analysis.
  c) The meeting suggested that project leaders of Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) in the Research Reactor Utilization Project should establish enhanced linkages with potential end-users by the end of the current program for PM2.5 and rare earth elements.
  d) The meeting suggested that since nuclear forensics is recognized as one of the critical capabilities of a state’s nuclear security regime, each country should enhance its nuclear forensics capability through cooperation on forensics analysis technologies and human resource development under the Nuclear Security and Safeguards Project.
  e) Because the current state and needs of each member country of the Radiation Safety and Radioactive Waste Management Project are diverse, the meeting supported the idea to compile a report including a general part on low-level radioactive waste disposal and the specific situation in each country.
8. "Seafood provenance"was introduced by Australia as a concept for a potential project to be considered at a future CDM.
9. It was agreed that the FNCA should continue its cooperation with the IAEA/RCA on specific projects on mutation breeding, radiation oncology, and radiation processing and polymer modification, for possible synergies and experience sharing with non-FNCA RCA member states.
10. The meeting agreed that project workshops would be hosted by respective member governments as shown in the Annex in JFY2018. Prospective host governments should confirm their availability as soon as possible.
11. It was agreed that the summary report (draft) would be emailed to the Coordinators for comments within two weeks of the meeting. Each coordinator should make comments within two weeks of receipt of the draft report, after which the Secretariat will prepare the final version of the report to be adopted by the delegates.

Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia