Morocco’s CNESTEN: First African Nuclear Center to Receive Prestigious IAEA Designation
Milestone Achievement for Morocco’s CNESTEN
The National Center for Energy, Nuclear Science and Technology (CNESTEN) in Morocco has made history by becoming the first center in Africa to receive the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) prestigious designation as an International Center based on Research Reactors (ICERR) for the period 2023-2027. The agreement for this designation was signed during the 67th General Conference of the IAEA.
This recognition enables CNESTEN to conduct two types of training, namely “Education and Training” and “Hands-on Training.” The Moroccan delegation, spearheaded by Azzeddine Farhane, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Morocco in Vienna, also held a working meeting with Rafael Grossi, the Director-General of the IAEA, who was recently re-elected for a second four-year term.
Joining the Global Ranks of ICERRs
By acquiring this distinction, CNESTEN joins the ranks of six other ICERRs globally recognized by the IAEA. These centers are located in the United States, Russia, Belgium, France, Romania, and South Korea. CNESTEN’s recognition follows its designation as an IAEA Collaborating Center in January 2021, making it the first nuclear institution in Africa to cooperate with the Agency in multiple areas of nuclear applications. These areas include water resource management, environmental protection, and industrial applications.
The Expansion of Morocco’s Nuclear Collaborations
Another Moroccan institution, the National Center for Scientific and Technical Research (CNRST), was also recognized by the IAEA as a Collaborating Center in the areas of Molecular Biology and Functional Genomics. Moreover, the Rabat National Institute of Oncology will soon be designated as an Anchor Center of the IAEA under the Rays of Hope initiative. This initiative aims to provide member countries with six decades worth of the Agency’s experience in radiological medicine through qualified medical centers.
Furthermore, the Moroccan Agency for Nuclear and Radiological Safety and Security (AMSSNuR) is set to sign an agreement with the IAEA for the establishment of a regional school of radioprotection. This school will play a crucial role in strengthening the regulatory infrastructure for nuclear and radiological safety in Africa.
Strength and Recognition of Moroccan Institutions
Moroccan institutions, including CNESTEN, AMSSNuR, INO, and various universities, have gained regional and international recognition for their capacity to strengthen capabilities in several areas of peaceful applications of nuclear technologies. These areas encompass water resource management, industrial applications, radiotherapy, as well as the safety and security of nuclear and radiological facilities.
The Moroccan delegation at the 67th General Conference of the IAEA included prominent figures like the Director-General of AMSSNuR, Said Mouline, the Director-General of CNESTEN, Hamid Marah, the Director-General of CNRST, Jamila El Alami, the Director-General of CHU Ibn Sina, Raouf Mohsine, and the Director of the National Institute of Oncology in Rabat, Khalid Hessouni.
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