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FNCA Coordinators Meeting

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Summary Report of the 20th FNCA Coordinators Meeting
6 March 2019, Tokyo, Japan


Group Photo


The 20th FNCA Coordinators Meeting (CDM) was held on March 6, 2019, 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 12 member countries; Australia, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Regional Cooperative 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 summary of the nine sessions of this Meeting is as follows:

Session 1: Opening Session
Welcome remarks from Dr. Yoshiaki OKA, Chairman of JAEC and Mr. Fumikazu SATO, Deputy Director General for Science, Technology and Innovation, CAO followed opening remarks from Mr. WADA. Dr. OKA introduced that application of nuclear science and technology had expanded in a wide spectrum of fields such as industrial application and medical care, and it had a great potential to contribute to the improvement of quality of life (QOL) and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He mentioned that FNCA had to make an effort to realize more meaningful contribution to the sustainable development in Asian region for the future.
After the self-introduction by each participant, the Meeting agenda was adopted without any amendment.

Photo of Mr Wada, Dr Oka and Mr Sano
(Left) Mr Wada, FNCA Coordinator of Japan
(Middle) Dr Oka, Chairman of JAEC
(Right) Mr Sano, Commissioner of JAEC

Session 2: Summary Report of the Ministerial-level Meeting (MLM) in 2018
Mr. SATO reported overview of 19th MLM held in December 2018, Tokyo, Japan. The meeting held policy discussions under the theme "contribution to Asian agriculture by radiation technology utilization" and concluded with the adoption of a joint communique mentioning actions to take such as "themes and activities to be promoted" and "enhancing the practical use of R&D results in agricultural production" etc.

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 low-input sustainable agriculture. In this meeting progress and plan on new project titled "Mutation Breeding of Major Crops for Low-input Sustainable Agriculture under Climate Change" started in JFY2018 were introduced. It was also reported that new mutant varieties/lines which had been developed in member countries were disseminated widely and expected to bring high economic effects.

2.Radiation Processing and Polymer Modification for Agricultural, Environmental and Medical Applications
The project newly launched in JFY2018 by merging the former Electron Accelerator Application Project and the former Biofertilizer Project started its activities as Radiation Processing and Polymer Modification Project. This project currently aims at a wider application of electron accelerator in Industry. Member countries have been cooperatively working toward practical use of beneficial and valuable products not only by mutual information exchange but also by data sharing in joint study. In this meeting it was reported that the member countries had discussed on seven topics at the workshop based on their application areas of electron beam and gamma ray irradiation, namely "Degraded Chitosan for Animal Feeds", "Hydrogel for Medical Application", "Environmental Remediation", "Synergistic Effect of Plant Growth Promoters (PGP), Super Water Absorbents (SWA) and Biofertilizer (BF)", "PGP and SWA, Inclusive of Process Development", "PGP and SWA, Inclusive of Process Development" and "Sterilization of BF Carrier Using Gamma Irradiation".

3. Research on Climate Change using Nuclear and Isotopic Techniques (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 this meeting the progress of their analysis and research on climate archives (lake/river sediments, corals/shells, speleothem, tree ring, etc.) and soil carbon storage were reported. It was also introduced that the first field demonstration of sampling techniques was conducted at Lake Rawa Pening, Central Java at the workshop.

4. 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 introduced 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. It was also reported that hands-on training session for three dimensional image-guided brachytherapy (3D-IGBT) was held at United Hospital Ltd. in Dhaka during the WS as an initial trial and many local doctors and medical physicists participated.

Session 4: Research Reactor Utilization
1. Research Reactor Utilization
This project has been promoting mutual collaboration among researchers in Asian countries on research reactors used for multipurpose and aims at contributing 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.
Research Reactor Utilization (RRU) group reported discussion result for boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT), neutron radiography, material research and so on. Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) group reported progress of 2 sub-project on air pollution and mineral resources and capabilities of the NAA as an important analysis method of reference materials.

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 had shared current status on low-level radioactive waste repository and public acceptance at the workshop, and also had been working on "Consolidated Report on Low-level Radioactive Waste Repository" for one of the 3-year activity plan.

Session 6: Report of project activities and outcomes on Nuclear Infrastructure Strengthening
1. Nuclear Security and Safeguards
This project has been enhancing securement of nuclear safety, security and safeguards by sharing knowledge and information, and cooperation in developing human resources to promote peaceful use of nuclear power. In this meeting it was reported that they had proceeded various discussions on 1) nuclear security (nuclear forensics, cyber security, nuclear security culture, security of radioactive sources), 2) safeguards (implementation of Additional Protocol) and 3) capacity building of nuclear security and safeguards. Action plan including report of good practices for Additional Protocol and table top exercises for nuclear forensics capacity building was also introduced.

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. Hai-Joo MOON, Director of the RCA Regional Office attended this meeting and presented overview of RCA and current cooperation between FNCA and RCA. Meeting confirmed that FNCA and RCA would continue information sharing and mutual attendance of their meetings in the field of mutation breeding, radiation oncology and radiation processing and polymer modification and explore future possibilities to promote further cooperation.
Photo of Mr Moon
(Right) Mr Moon, Director of the RCA Regional Office


Session 8: Discussion on Future Policy of FNCA Activities
Mr. WADA proposed activity plan in JFY2019 and it was agreed by all participants. He also reviewed progress, outcomes and plan for on-going 7 projects which were reported at this meeting. It was agreed by all participants after supplemented.

Session 9: Closing
Draft of Conclusion and Recommendation of the meeting was provided by Mr. WADA and discussed by all participants.

Conclusions and Recommendations of the 20th FNCA Coordinators Meeting

1. The Coordinators Meeting ("the meeting") appreciated that FNCA activities were effectively implemented in JFY 2018, and have achieved significant outcomes benefiting member countries
2. Based on the Joint Communiques of the 19th FNCA Ministerial-Level Meeting (MLM) on the new direction of the FNCA, the meeting agreed to further accelerate FNCA activities related to agricultural development, food security, environmental protection, human health, nuclear security, and human resource development, not only by accelerating existing R&D themes but also by adopting possible future R&D themes from a wide spectrum of interests of member countries to support their sustainable development.
3. The meeting discussed the progress of seven ongoing projects in the fields of radiation utilization development, research reactor utilization, nuclear safety strengthening, and nuclear infrastructure strengthening. These projects are "Mutation Breeding, " "Radiation Processing and Polymer Modification for Agricultural, Environmental and Medical Applications," "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 for each project are as follows:
a) Mutation Breeding

The meeting acknowledged that a new phase of the project, "Mutation breeding of major crops for low input sustainable agriculture under climate change" has exhibited steady progress starting this year. The meeting also appreciated that several new varieties of rice obtained from previous subprojects have been registered, expanding in member countries such as Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

b) Radiation Processing and Polymer Modification for Agricultural, Environmental and Medical Applications

The meeting recognized that the integration of two previous projects, i.e., "Electron Accelerator Application" and "Biofertilizer," has broadened the range of research topics for the combined project and the whole project activity was activated. The meeting appreciated the progress of the project, e.g., the application of irradiated oligochitosan as an immunostimulator/growth promoter for cultured fish and shrimp in Vietnam and the medical applications of hydrogel for wound dressing in Bangladesh.

c) Research on Climate Change Using Nuclear and Isotopic Techniques

The meeting appreciated that the sample-taking exercise of lake sediments was successfully carried out by all project leaders of the FNCA at Lake Rawa Pening in Indonesia. Technical cooperation on nuclear and isotopic techniques among member countries to understand climate change should be enhanced, focusing on the analyses of lake/soil sediments and soil organic carbon (SOC).

d) The meeting highly appreciated that the hands-on training on the treatment protocol of a new clinical study (CERVIX-V) was successfully conducted at a hospital in Bangladesh, which is expected to save the lives of tens of thousands of patients suffering from cervical cancer in Bangladesh in the future. It is also recommended that hands-on training on three-dimensional image-guided brachytherapy (3D-IGBT) for radiation oncologists and medical physicists be carried out again during the next workshop in China this year.
e) Research Reactor Utilization

The meeting suggested that the cooperation between FNCA member countries in the Research Reactor Utilization (RRU) project should be further enhanced to increase the sharing of information and experience with the aim of contributing to the personnel training of researchers related to research reactors, since some member countries in the FNCA are considering developing new research reactor projects.
Concerning Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA), the meeting suggested that each country should demonstrate the contributions of NAA of SPM samples and REE-containing samples to regional air quality and national economic development.

f) Radiation Safety and Radioactive Waste Management

The meeting suggested that the report on the LLW repository to be summarized by next March--given that almost all countries in the FNCA are planning to construct low-level radioactive waste disposal facilities/long-term storage facilities-should include major and significant items such as principles and guidelines for safety assessment, regulatory and operational system preparation, site selection, and confidence-building among the public in each FNCA member country.

g) Nuclear Security and Safeguards

The meeting suggested that research collaborations for the development of advanced measurement technologies for nuclear forensics data, such as isotopic ratio, impurity, and morphology should be enhanced. In addition, a table-top exercise (TTX) to identify unknown nuclear materials using the Nuclear Forensics Library should be conducted in the next workshop.

4. It was agreed that the FNCA encourage to cooperate with IAEA/RCA at policy level and continue its cooperation on specific projects on mutation breeding, radiation oncology, radiation processing and polymer modification, to identify potential synergies and to share their experiences with non-FNCA RCA member states. The meeting also recommends the FNCA to commence communications with UN relevant organizations e.g., UNDP to foster SDGs targets through cooperation with them.
5. The meeting agreed that project workshops will be hosted by respective member governments in JFY2019 as shown in the Annex. Prospective host governments should confirm their availability as soon as possible.



Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia