Business Times

Sri Lanka to use nuclear energy for commercial purposes

Sri Lanka is to revitalize the country’s Atomic Energy Authority to use nuclear energy for commercial purposes, while conducting a pre-feasibility study to build a nuclear power plant to meet the growing electricity demand, Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, told the Business Times .

The Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Authority is currently providing services in calibration and maintenance of nuclear electronic equipment, non-destructive testing, radiation processing, gamma spectroscopic analysis, X-ray fluorescence analysis, radiation processing, and applications of nuclear tracers. All these activities will be revitalized by providing training for the technical staff at the authority in countries like Pakistan and India, the minister said.

He added that he held talks with the authorities of these countries and they have responded positively. He noted that their aim is to use nuclear technology for commercial purposes. Gamma Irradiation will be used to produce surgical and other types of gloves for commercial purposes at its Multipurpose Gamma Irradiator. Action will be taken to use Sterile Insect Technique a nuclear technique for managing insect populations to destroy dengue mosquitoes.

“The Ministry is also considering nuclear power as an option in the long-term generation plan for 2025 with the aim of diversifying the country’s sources of energy for generation requirements,” Minister Ranawaka said. “Building a nuclear power plant will take about 15 years, but we have to train personnel and prepare the ground work from now onwards,” he said. A five member committee is conducting a pre-feasibility study, he revealed.

This study will take about six months after which a feasibility study will be done to decide from which country Sri Lanka get assistance and where to build the power plant. Mr Ranawaka said the US, Russia, France, India and Pakistan have expressed willingness to set up a nuclear power plant here in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is also holding talks with the International Atomic Energy Authority and countries with advanced nuclear industries to provide training and technical expertise, he added.

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