The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA) and Rusatom Healthcare, the healthcare division of Rosatom, yesterday signed an agreement on cooperation in the sphere of non-power related uses of nuclear technology on the sidelines of BRICS.
The agreement between both countries aims to explore the full potential of deepening mutually beneficial cooperation in the sphere of innovation and technological development related to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The main area of cooperation is that of nuclear medicine and particularly cancer treatment in Africa and abroad.
Kelvin Kemm, Chairman of NECSA described the agreement as exciting and beneficial, said both parties are planning to partner in the construction of two innovative solution reactors in South Africa. Solution Reactors are small scale and relatively inexpensive reactors that are designed specifically for the cost effective production of nuclear medicine products. The parties also plan to construct a commercial cyclotron in South Africa to further increase the production capacity of nuclear medicine in the region.
Phumzile Tshelane, CEO of NECSA highlighted the fact that the expansion of nuclear medicine and early detection of cancer is directly in line with the target set by President Ramaphosa at SONA earlier this year, to fight the dreaded disease. Kemm noted that the parties also intend to roll out cancer treatment centers across African, South Africa and Russia. “Sadly, only a small percentage of Africa has access to this lifesaving technology, something that we aim to change. This will be done with the collaboration of local government, business and medical entities in each country”.
Tshelane continued by stating that, “Nuclear medicine not only saves lives, but also generates a large revenue for South Africa. NECSA is looking forward to increased production and the maximization of profits for the country.”