FNCA   Coordinators


The Introduction of the Coordinators

FNCA Coordinators Meeting

Participants List


Summary Report of the 23rd FNCA Coordinators Meeting
21 June 2023, Tokyo, Japan (hybrid meeting)

Participants of CDM (in-person)
Participants of CDM (online)

The 23rd FNCA Coordinators Meeting (CDM) was held in Tokyo on June 21, 2023, 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 Dr. TAMADA Masao, FNCA Coordinator of Japan. The Meeting was attended by delegates from 12 member countries; Australia, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam, with 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 an observer.
The summary of the nine sessions of the Meeting is as follows:

Session 1: Opening Session
After the last Ministerial meeting, FNCA coordinator of Japan, Bangladesh, and Malaysia has changed. So, self-introduction was made by Mr. WADA Tomoaki (a former FNCA coordinator of Japan), Dr. TAMADA Masao, the newly assigned FNCA coordinator of Japan, and Dr. Shamim Momtaz Ferdousi Begum of Bangladesh, and Dr. Muhammad Rawi Bin Mohamed Zin of Malaysia.
Opening remarks from Dr. TAMADA was made then the meeting agenda was adopted without any amendments.

Photo of Dr. Uesaka Photo of Dr. Tamada
(Left) Dr. UESAKA, Chairman of JAEC
(Right) Dr. TAMADA, FNCA Coordinator of Japan

Session 2: Report of the 22nd MLM
Secretariat reported overview of the 23rd MLM which was held in-person and online in October 2022. Based on the topic of roundtable discussion "Enhancing Radiation Cancer Therapy in Asian Region", keynote speeches were made by Mr. Hua LIU, Deputy Director General Department of Technical Cooperation, IAEA, and Dr. Uranchimeg Tsegmed, Chief of Operation Officers Radiation Oncologist of Department of Radiation Oncology, National Cancer Center of Mongolia. After those presentations, lead speeches by FNCA Radiation Oncology member were delivered for the roundtable discussion.

Session 3-1: Report of project activities and outcomes on Radiation Utilization Development (Industrial Utilization / Environmental Utilization)

  1. Mutation Breeding
    This project aims to develop new crop varieties, which contribute to the sustainable agriculture in Asian countries by using mutation breeding techniques. Particularly, the member countries are trying to develop new varieties that show high yield, early maturity, high quality, and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses. In this meeting, the progress of the member countries related to the activities of the project was highlighted. It was reported that 10 rice varieties and 5 soybean varieties have been released so far in line with the purpose of this project, and that the released new varieties are expected to bring a significant economic impact and greatly contribute to the sustainable agriculture.
  2. Radiation Processing and Polymer Modification for Agricultural, Environmental and Medical Applications
    This project currently aims to promote development and practical use of new products through a wide utilization of radiation processing in the fields of agriculture, environment and medical care. In this meeting, activities of this phase were reported on the eight R&D subjects, namely "Degraded Chitosan for Animal Feed", "Hydrogel for Medical Application", "Environmental Remediation", "Synergistic Effect among Plant Growth Promoters (PGP), Super Water Absorbents (SWA) and Biofertilizer (BF)", "PGP and SWA, inclusive of Process Development", "Mutation Breeding of Microbe using radiation", "Sterilization and sanitization using radiation", and "Recycle plastic".
  3. Combating Food Fraud using Nuclear Technology
    This project aims to sharing of information, transfer of knowledge and improving scientific capacity across FNCA member countries, and establishment of a federated fingerprint database and development of provenance technology platform to comply with traceability requirements for trade. As a two-year preparation period, the project aims to selection of collaborators, and selection of food items for analysis and establishment of analytical frameworks in this fiscal year.

Session 3-2: Report of project activities and outcomes on Radiation Utilization Development (Healthcare Utilization)

  1. Radiation Oncology
    This project aims to improve the level of radiation therapy in the Asian region by establishing optimal treatment protocols for uterine cervix cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, and breast cancer, all of which are highly prevalent in the region. Member countries conduct international multi-center clinical studies, assignments required for physical Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) of radiotherapy and educational activities.
    In this meeting, report was made that standard treatment protocols related to these three cancers were established, QA/QC audits of 3D-IGBT were conducted then the audits have improved quality of radiotherapy in FNCA countries, and open lecture session and hands-on training for 3D-IGBT were held during the workshop.

Session 4: Report of project activities and outcomes on Research Reactor Utilization Development

  1. Research Reactor Utilization
    This project shares information such as the characteristics and the utilization status of research reactors among the member countries with the aim of improving the common research infrastructure and the technical skills of their researchers and engineers. It was reported that Research Reactor Utilization (RRU) group is currently working on activities with the topics such as "RI production including new isotopes" and "new research reactor" based on the survey to the member countries. In the Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) group, it was introduced that the group is focusing on "environmental monitoring" in the current phase, and environmental samples for the monitoring are to include not only "ordinary" environmental samples such as air particulate matters but also a variety of substances extensively such as soil and even food. It was recommended that analytical methods other than NAA like ICP-MS be applied to these sample when research reactor are temporally or permanently not in operation for some member countries so that data comparison and validation can be done within the NAA group.

Session 5: Report of project activities and outcomes on Nuclear Safety Strengthening

  1. Radiation Safety and Radioactive Waste Management
    This project aims to promote radiation safety at nuclear facilities and activities related to the radioactive waste management among the member countries through exchanging and sharing information as well as experience-based knowledge.
    The purpose of the ongoing phase is to understand and summarize the current situation of each member country related to Naturally Occurring Radiative Materials and Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM/TENORM), and to make it useful for their further activities in future. In this meeting, it was introduced that discussion about a consolidated report for the NORM/TENORM (characterization of NORM, legal and regulatory considerations, disposal methods, and relationships with stakeholders) was made during the workshop.

Session 6: Report of project activities and outcomes on Nuclear Infrastructure Strengthening

  1. Nuclear Security and Safeguards
    This project has been strengthening nuclear security and safeguards of the member countries by sharing knowledge and information as well as through cooperation in developing human resources to promote peaceful use of nuclear energy. In this meeting, it was introduced that there were special lectures about regional cooperation for nuclear forensics from the IAEA and European Commission/Joint Research Center (EC/JRC) during the workshop, and that 7 FNCA member countries have already created stakeholder matrix for nuclear safety, and that they shared challenges and good practices through this activity.

Session 7: IAEA/RCA Presentation
RCA is an intergovernmental agreement for the Asia-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 related to nuclear science and technology. Currently 22 member countries (including 11 FNCA member countries and 11 non-FNCA member countries (such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) participate in the RCA. Mr. Pill Hwan Park, Director of the RCA Regional Office, attended this meeting and presented activities of the RCA and current cooperation between FNCA and RCA.

Session 8: Discussion on Future Activities of FNCA Projects
1. Introduction of a new project proposal by Japan and Korea

  1. A new project proposed by Japan aims to construct the database about climate change related to CO2 emission from forest soils. This project follow the previous project which was led by Australia, and aims to expand the JAEA's research into Asian scale. The project aims to development of the Asian-scale database of soil organic carbon (SOC) characteristics and a soil CO2 emission model, to be used in the climate models and other measures for the global warming.
  2. A new project proposed by Korea aims to safe and continued operation of research reactors, and to enhance reliability and utilization of research reactors. The project was proposed because there are much less information and database for AMP (Aging Management Program) for research reactors than NPPs, and AMP for research reactors is not systematic and comprehensive.

Based on the evaluation guidelines, every coordinator discussed each proposal's validity, effectiveness, efficiency, influence, and sustainably, then recommendation was made that proposal 1 will start in this fiscal year as a new project, and that proposal 2 will be discussed in the next workshop of Research Reactor Utilization Project.

2. Review of project
It was reported that, in the last fiscal year, almost all workshop was held in a hybrid manner (in-person and online) and some activities, such as technical visit and hands-on training which were difficult to hold in online, were actually held. As for this fiscal year, it was recommended to hold each workshop in a hybrid manner, with taking infection control measures, that can enable to have a hands-on experience.

Session 9: Closing
Draft of Conclusions and Recommendations of the meeting was provided by Dr. TAMADA. The Conclusions and Recommendations was confirmed after discussion and adopted by all member countries after the meeting.

Conclusions and Recommendations of the 23rd FNCA Coordinators Meeting

1. Based on the Joint Communiques of the 23rd FNCA Ministerial-Level Meeting (MLM) on the new course of FNCA, the Coordinators Meeting ("the meeting") agreed to further accelerate FNCA activities related to agricultural development, environmental preservation, food security, human health, nuclear security, and human resource development. The meeting also agreed to maximize efforts to promptly normalize the FNCA project activities and the regular meetings in response to the national health policies
of the respective member countries under the current circumstances of COVID-19.
2. There is no project that corresponds to mid-term evaluation and project for final evaluation at this 23rd coordinators meeting. In the 24th coordinators meeting, five projects; mutation breeding, radiation oncology, research reactor utilization, radiation safety and radioactive waste management, and nuclear security and safeguards will be evaluated through their final evaluation process. Over the past three years, meeting schedules were shifted by the impact of COVID-19. The meeting is planned in the previous schedule before the pandemic and will be held in February -March, 2024.
3. With improved procedures endorsed at the 17th MLM for evaluating project proposals, all FNCA coordinators performed ex-ante evaluation of two new project proposals submitted by Japan and Korea from viewpoints of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact, and sustainability.
(1) Radiocarbon-based approach to evaluating the CO2 emission from forest soils in Asia (Japan)
(2) Performance Management Program (PMP) of Research Reactors for Continued Operation (Korea).
Major comments of the projects and final evaluation are shown under item 4 and 5 respectively.
4. Major comments on the newly proposed projects
(1) Radiocarbon-based approach to evaluating the CO2 emission from forest soils in Asia
- Climate change projects are highly relevant to national and regional development policies described in the 23rd FNCA MLM Joint communique.
- This project is effective in database development for forest soil CO2 emissions using 14C analysis-based approach through information sharing in workshops.
- The database will make better understand of soil CO2 emissions in climate change and will be useful for climate modeling and policy development.
- All member countries have expressed interest in participating in this project.
(2) Performance Management Program (PMP) of Research Reactors for Continued Operation
- This project will contribute to development of a systematic and comprehensive aging management program for research reactors and consequent national development policies and safe nuclear management.
- On PMP for research reactors, their operation can contribute to sustainable isotope production and other applications.
- Coordination of detail specifications and approaches establishing PMP is necessary due to the various reactor types and purposes before initiative of the new project for countries having interest in participation.
- As the budget for the project has not been secured by the proposed country, it is necessary to consider financial support of the project implementation.
5. Final evaluation of new projects
(1) Radiocarbon-based approach to evaluating the CO2 emission from forest soils in Asia (Japan)
- This project was scored 89 on average and interested by all FNCA countries. Accordingly, this project is adopted without any objections. The meeting agreed to launch the new project from JFY 2023.
(2) Performance Management Program (PMP) of Research Reactors for Continued Operation (Korea)
- This project was scored low by two countries although made relatively high average score of 83. Principally this project is not be considered. However, meeting suggested the further discussion on detail coordination of specifications and approaches establishing PMP and financial support for the project implementation. It is encouraged that these concerns will be discussed in the on-going research reactor utilization project workshop which will be held in Oct. 17-19, 2023 in Thailand as a specific topic.
6. The meeting discussed the progress of seven ongoing projects: "Mutation Breeding", "Radiation Processing and Polymer modification", "Combatting Food Fraud using Nuclear Technology", "Radiation Oncology", "Research Reactor Utilization", "RadiationSafety and Radioactive Waste Management", and "Nuclear Security and Safeguards". The meeting acknowledged that the projects were successfully implemented with the effective cooperation of the member countries.
In 2022, almost all projects held workshops in a hybrid manner and conducted firsthand activities to further facilitate information sharing and capacity building such as technical visits, hands-on training, and table-top exercises that would have been difficult in a web meeting.
Comments on each project is as follows:
a) Mutation Breeding
In this phase this project released 10 rice varieties and 5 soybean varieties. Further new varieties are expected for contribution to economic impact and sustainable agriculture.
b) Radiation Processing and Polymer Modification for Agricultural, Environmental and Medical Applications
Degraded chitosan was applied for as feed supplement for live stocks and a hemostat hydrogel was created by a natural polymer. This project should continue specific modification of polymers meeting to users' needs which can promote their applications to agricultural, environmental, and medical fields and subsequent technology transfer to end-users.
c) Research on Climate Change using Nuclear and Isotopic Techniques
Research on the development of federated fingerprint database and a technology platform is expected to mitigate traceability challenges for biosecurity issues.
d) Radiation Oncology
This project should continue the optimization of the protocols for the major three kinds of cancers in Asia to improve the safety and efficacy of radiotherapy. Further cooperation with IAEA/RCA is requested to conduct the research of radiation oncology effectively.
e) Research Reactor Utilization
Production of radioisotopes, including new ones should be continued to meet continuous request for their practical use. From the same viewpoint, environmental samples such as air particulate matters, geological samples, soil and even food should be targeted for neutron activation analysis.
f) Radiation Safety and Radioactive Waste Management
It is recommended that information of the current states of NORM/TENORM repositories keep exchanged and a consolidated report is compiled in terms of legal and regulatory considerations, disposal methods, and relationships with stakeholders.
g) Nuclear Security and Safeguards
This project should raise important awareness of nuclear security and safeguard as capacity building. Table top exercises of nuclear forensics and seminar on nuclear security are extremely essential activities.

The meeting agreed that the FNCA should encourage its cooperation with the IAEA/RCA which hopefully can lead to a synergy and more wide experience sharing among FNCA and RCA.

8. The meeting agreed that project workshops would be hosted by the respective member governments in JFY2023 as shown below. It is encouraged that the 2023 workshops will be held in a hybrid manner which allows in-person participants to have real experiences. While global COVID-19 pandemic tends to subside, its health threat cannot be underestimated. It is recommended that hosts must take adequate measures of COVID-19 infection prevention during the workshop. Face-to-face participants should pay attention to their health conditions at the time of the meeting, and are recommended wearing masks and other infection prevention measures as necessary.

Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia