International nuclear official praises Texas A&M's contributions

IAEA Amano

5452423b 08673.image

When Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, made his first trip to the U.S. this week, Texas A&M was the first public university he visited.

"Texas A&M is known globally as a university having very high technology including in the area of nuclear science and technology," Amano said on Wednesday, the final day of his three-day trip. "IAEA and A&M have cooperated for many years and that is why I am visiting the university to further increase cooperation."

A&M and International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, have worked together since 1998 to further nuclear technology. In 2013, A&M was the first site in North America to host the IAEA's School for Nuclear Energy Management, attended by 24 participants from around the world.

"The future of the world lies in technology," Amano said. "In order to use technology, training and investing in people is essential."

Amano's visit comes a week before his annual address to the United Nations on the agency's progress and accomplishments.

During his time at A&M, he designated the National Center for Electron Beam Research at A&M as the IAEA Collaborating Centre for Electron Beam Technologies for Food, Health and Environmental Applications. The center, located in the Texas A&M Research Park, is operated by Texas A&M AgriLife Research. Its research includes increasing the shelf life of fruit and vegetables and eliminating disease in them.

Amano 1

The designation is the first given to a U.S. university and will allow researchers to more easily build international relationships with other nuclear scientists, said Chad Wootton, associate vice president for external affairs.

"We already are at the forefront," Wootton said. "But what this allows us to say is we're further verified with this skill set."

A&M Interim President Mark Hussey expressed to Amano the university's willingness to continue working with the IAEA.

"I hope you found new ideas for collaboration for your agency, as well as those entities you engage with regularly in your international leadership role," Hussey said. "We stand ready to serve and look forward to building opportunities for extramural partnership where you and your member states can benefit from our efforts here."