ISTC-implemented Project on Nuclear Safety in Southern Africa Stimulates Contacts between Kazakh and South African Universities and Scholars

One of the specific features of the International Science and Technology Center is its ability to bridge scientific and academic communities, to blend the talents of experts and practitioners from distant parts of the world, such as Southern Africa and Central Asia.A convincing illustration in that regard is the EU-funded and ISTC-implemented project Support to the Southern African States in Nuclear Safety and Safeguards. The Project is designed to help upgrade the safety level of transcontinental uranium ore transportation from Tanzania and Malawi, through Zambia, till the port of Walvis Bay in Namibia.

The ISTC established partnerships with leading South African universities, research institutions and nuclear safety training centres. In September 2017, the project participating countriesgathered in Centurion, at the main facility of the RSA National Nuclear Regulator. One of the most active presenter at that meeting was Prof. James Larkin, Director, Radiation and Health Physics Unit, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

From 23 to 26 May 2018 he was in Astana on a working visit.He met colleagues from the Kazakh University of Law and Humanities (KAZGUU), including Rector Mr.TalgatNarikbayev, and from the Eurasian NationalUniversity Lev Gumilyov.

Prof. James Larkin took part in a Panel discussion at the Academic Diplomatic club: “Kazakhstan and South Africa: Bidding Farewell to Nuclear Arms and Engaging in Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy”. Convened at the KAZGUU, the forum triggered attendance of ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps, accredited to Kazakhstan; MFA and other government officials; members of the academia and students; representatives from ten participating states from in an EU-funded ISTC- implemented strategic export control project.

Prof. James Larkinpresented glimpses on the case of the development of nuclear weapons by RSA, and the decision of its dismantlement. He presented eight lessons learned, stating that: nuclear arms are within reach to reasonably advanced countries; an international isolation campaign against would be possessor states may at some point become counterproductive; IAEA and other external factors are called upon to support the process of dismantling military nuclear facilities.

H.E. Ms Keitumetsi Matthews, RSA Ambassador to Kazakhstan echoed the statements about the responsible decision taken by RSA on the initiative of the late President Nelson Mandela. She suggested that in 2018, when the centenary anniversary of the birth President Mandela is celebrated, it may be appropriate to establish in his name a reward on contribution to non-proliferation.

The visit of Prof. Larkin to ISTC helped define the planning of special course on internationally accepted nuclear safety standards for representatives of the five participating states in the projectSupport to the Southern African States in Nuclear Safety and Safeguards, possibly to be joined