Saturday, 05/18/2024 23:48 GMT+7

Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Operation and Utilization of the Dalat Nuclear Reactor - a historical journey

On March 23, the Dalat Nuclear Research Institute (DNRI) solemnly held the 40th Anniversary of the Inauguration of the Dalat Nuclear Reactor Reconstruction and Expansion Project (March 20, 1984 - March 20, 2024).

Delegates attend the Celebration

The celebration was attended by distinguished guests, including Mr. Huynh Thanh Dat - Member of the Party Central Committee, Minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST); Mr. Tran Hong Thai – MOST Deputy Minister; Mr. Tran Dinh Van - Executive Deputy Secretary of Lam Dong Provincial Committee Party, Head of the National Assembly Delegation of Lam Dong Province; Mr. Tran Chi Thanh - President of Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute (VAEI). International dignitaries also graced the occasion, such as Mr. Hua Liu - Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), H.E Mr. B.G. Stepanovich - Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Vietnam, Mr. G.S. Prasad - Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India to Viet Nam. Additionally, leaders, former leaders from the MOST, VAEI, DNRI, representatives of the Party Committees, Government Bodies, Provincial Organizations, partner companies, and organizations. Notably, the ceremony was attended by all generations of scientists, officials, employees, and workers who used to work and are working at DNRI.

Minister of Science and Technology presents flowers of congratulation

On March 20, 2024, the DNR completed 40 years of safe operation and effective utilization, marking a momentous milestone in its history. The nuclear reactor reconstruction and expansion project, a key state-level project, was officially started with the assistance of the Soviet Union on March 15, 1982. After 20 months of urgent construction, the reactor was loaded and reached its first criticality at 19:50 on November 1, 1983. The reactor was officially put into operation with nominal power of 500 kW, twice that of the previous TRIGA reactor on March 20, 1984.

Prof. Dr. Pham Duy Hien – DNRI Former Director (1981-1991), former VAEI Deputy Director delivers a speech at the Anniversary Ceremony

The proud 40-year journey of safe operation and effective utilization of DNR has contributed scientific research, sample analysis, and radioactive isotope production for healthcare, industry and human resource development. Along with the nuclear reactor, modern specialized laboratories have also been established to serve basic and applied research, introducing nuclear and isotope techniques to the socio-economic development in Vietnam. The DNRI has progressed from mastering reactor operation to designing fuel configuration, focusing specifically on the reactor core. This capacity is demonstrated by the successful conversion of DNR fuel from high enriched 36% U-235 to low enriched 19.75% U-235 (2007-2011). The DNRI's scientific and technical staff has proven their technological mastery in safe operation with 70,000 hours of reactor operation. DNRI staff members constantly learn to improve their professional qualifications and skills. Many have become international experts, leveraging knowledge and techniques inherited from previous generations while actively researching and developing new techniques.

Dr. Cao Dong Vu – DNRI Director presents the main achievements over the past 40 years

Over 40 years of nuclear scientific research, the DNRI has made significant contributions to the national and international knowledge with approximately 420 scientific papers in national journals and 300 scientific papers in international journals. In the field of research and application of atomic energy for peace, the DNRI has researched and produced radioisotopes for human disease diagnosis and treatment; researched and manufactured nuclear devices; researched and developed nuclear analysis techniques; researched and warned of environmental radiation on land and at sea; researched, developed and applied a number of nuclear and isotope techniques to solve practical problems (in oil and gas, sedimentation, erosion...); researched radiation technology and biotechnology for food preservation and preparation of bio-based plant protection products; mutation breeding; radiation safety research and radioactive waste treatment and management, etc. The Institute has created many products and services to serve the country's economic development and social security. The DNR is recognized by the IAEA as the most efficient low-power reactor in the world.

In recognition of these achievements, DNRI has received numerous prestigious awards. These include the Third-class Labor Medal (1989), the Second-class Labor Medal (2001), the First-class Labor Medal (2009), and the Third-class Independence Medal (2014). Additionally, the Institute was honored with the State Award for Science and Technology in 2012 for its "Research on safe operation and effective utilization of Dalat Nuclear Reactor" project. The DNRI has also been recognized with various certificates of merit and other scientific awards.

Reflecting on the 40-year journey of the DNRI, Dr. Cao Dong Vu, Director of the Institute, expressed his gratitude for the support and facilitation from the Party and State leaders at all levels, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute, the Party Committee and Government of Lam Dong Province and Dalat City, the IAEA cooperation, as well as the research and production organizations, universities, hospitals, companies, and enterprises at home and abroad that have contributed to DNRI's achievements. Dr. Vu also recognized the collective efforts of the DNRI officials and employees, as well as the contributions of past and current leaders in the atomic energy field. He specifically thanked the early generation of leaders, including the Late Professor Nguyen Dinh Tu, Professor Pham Duy Hien, Doctor of Science Tran Ha Anh, Professor Ngo Quang Huy, and Associate Professor Nguyen Mong Sinh, along with all other Directors and Deputy Directors of all time, who have worked tirelessly to contribute to DNRI's success. Finally, Dr. Vu expressed his appreciation for all the officials and employees who have worked or are currently working at DNRI, as well as the leaders of the Departments and Centers under the Institute of all time. The DNRI recognizes and values the contributions of all those who have played a role in its development process.

MOST Minister Huynh Thanh Dat gives a directive speech at the Celebration Ceremony

Speaking at the celebration, MOST Minister Huynh Thanh Dat emphasized: "Vietnam's atomic energy sector has the right to be proud because, in the gentle, elegant, and hospitable city of Dalat, there is a team of multidisciplinary scientific and technical staff with the industrial style has gradually mastered several advanced and modern scientific fields. This team is a valuable asset that contributing to implementing the Energy Strategy. Currently, the MOST is being assigned the important task of building a Nuclear Science and Technology Research Center with a high-power research reactor, many times larger in scale than the Dalat reactor to strengthen the nation's nuclear infrastructure, develop human resources, improve science and technology capacity to serve the acquisition and mastery of nuclear technology, and move towards partial localization of nuclear reactors; at the same time, promote research on products and services to effectively exploit new resources, by first of all participating in project implementation with the highest sense of responsibility while continuing to ensure safe operation and effective utilization of the Dalat nuclear reactor at least until 2033. MOST prioritizes responsible participation in project implementation. This includes ensuring the continued safe and effective operation of the DNRR until at least 2033. This remains a key objective for MOST, VAEI, and all related institutions and organizations. I suggest that the VAEI mobilize human resources, intelligence, and time, and coordinate closely with ROSATOM partners to accelerate the progress of the project in the coming time. Another task related to nuclear energy that the Ministry of Science and Technology is urgently implementing is to amend the Law on Atomic Energy in 2008. As a unique nuclear facility managing and operating the only nuclear reactor in our country, I request the DNRI to pay attention and invest time in research and study to have appropriate comments on the revised Law on Atomic Energy, so that the Law will soon come to life and promote the atomic energy industry for peace continues to grow."

Mr. Tran Dinh Van - Executive Deputy Secretary of Lam Dong provincial committee party delivers a speech at the Celebration

Speaking at the Celebration, Mr. Tran Dinh Van - Executive Deputy Secretary of Lam Dong provincial committee party, Head of Lamdong Provincial National Assembly Delegation highly appreciated the efforts and great achievements of the DNRI. He also congratulated the DNRI’s leaders, former leaders, scientists, officers, employees, and workers of all time. Those achievements have made very important contributions to the development of the country in general and Lamdong Province in particular.

Leaders of Lamdong Province gives congratulation flowers

He emphasized, Lam Dong Province is proud to host the DNRI. For 40 years, it has mastered the techniques and technologies needed to safely operate and effectively utilize Vietnam's only nuclear reactor. Not a single incident has occurred that has affected human and environmental health. Since its establishment, the DNRI has been closely attached to the province and has actively contributed to its overall development, especially in the fields of health and agriculture. The Institute has conducted many specific scientific activities that contribute to protecting land resources, lakes, and dams. Additionally, it provides training on radiation protection and emergency response, as well as sets of chromosome aberration templates for high school education.

These achievements are a significant contribution towards the successful implementation of the goal of "Making Lam Dong a fairly comprehensively developed province of the country by 2030, and a centrally run city by 2045" as set by the 11th Provincial Party Congress. The DNRI Party Committee serves as an integral part of the Party Committee of Lam Dong Province, and the role of the DNRI is extremely important. As a leading scientific research organization in the area, I recommend that the DNRI continue to conduct research and transfer science and technology to the province for the application in agriculture, industry, health, and environmental protection.

Lamdong is known for its strong agricultural production, but climate change is having a significant impact on the productivity, quality, and efficiency of several crops grown here. Therefore, there is a critical need for technological techniques that the DNRI can research and develop. This includes selecting and creating plant varieties that are high in productivity, quality, and economic efficiency, developing disease prevention and treatment products for plants, and protecting the ecological environment in production.

With its 40 years of experience, the DNRI has a proven track record of dynamism, creativity, and knowledge. I firmly believe that the DNRI will continue to make significant progress, overcome challenges, and reach new heights in terms of scale and quality. The DNRI is worthy of the trust that the Party, State, and people have placed in it.

IAEA Deputy Director General, Mr. Hua Liu, congratulates the DNR for 40 years of safe and effective operation

Mr. Bezdetko Gennady Stepannovich - Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Vietnam, highly appreciates the cooperation of the former Soviet Union and the Russian Federation in supporting the development of nuclear energy for peace in Vietnam

Mr. Subhash Prasad Gupta - Deputy Extraordinary Ambassador of India to Vietnam looks forward to cooperation on atomic energy between the two countries

Dr. Tran Chi Thanh – President of VAEI delivers a speech at the Celebration

The President of VAEI presents Professor Dr. Pham Duy Hien with a Certificate of Merit in recognition of his significant contributions to the field of nuclear science and technology

Delegates take souvenir photos

In the coming years, the DNRI will continue to pursue its mission of maintaining safe and effective operation until at least 2033. To achieve this, the Institute will be actively involved in the Project to build a Nuclear Science and Technology Research Center with a new nuclear research reactor. The Institute will also prepare its human resources to operate the new multi-purpose reactor with a power of 10 MWt. This will enable the implementation of several potential new research and application directions, which were not possible with the low power of the Dalat reactor. These potential directions include the production of new radioactive isotopes, sealed sources for medical and industrial use, basic research directions (neutron scattering, neutron diffraction) for materials science research, and single crystal silicon doping irradiation to manufacture semiconductor materials.

With the high spirit of solidarity and determination of the officials and employees, the DNRI will continue to overcome challenges and strive to meet the new requirements of the sector and of the country during the period of industrialization and modernization, the period of the "green revolution" and "artificial intelligence".

Translated by Le Van Ngoc

Source: Dalat Nuclear Research Institute

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