The Scientific Research Institute of Technical Physics and Automation (NIITFA) of Russia will supply required equipment to replace one of the existing gamma irradiation facilities at Savar in Dhaka, designed for treatment of food (spices and pet food) and medical products and also for research purposes.
After the completion of works, Bangladesh will have an upgraded gamma installation with a nominal activity of 400 kCi.
The NIITFA is a part of the Rusatom Healthcare Division under Rosatom of Russia. It will be Rosatom’s first-ever non-energy project in Bangladesh.
Rosatom will perform all necessary work, including design, manufacture, supply, installation supervision, testing, and commissioning of gamma installation equipment.
In addition to NIITFA, other entities of the Rusatom Healthcare division will also be involved in the job. In particular, Co-60 (cobalt-60) radioactive isotopes will be supplied by Isotope JSC.
Rosatom recently signed the contract after winning an international tender floated by the Institute of Radiation and Polymer Technology (IRPT) of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC). Apart from Rosatom, companies from China and Germany also took part in the tender. Following the comparative evaluation of technical and commercial proposals, Rosatom was elected as the winner. Rosatom South Asia, the regional center of Rosatom extended necessary support to the Rosatom Healthcare Division.
"The implementation of the project in the People's Republic of Bangladesh will allow the developing and strengthening of competencies in the field of manufacture of equipment used for gamma irradiation of products. We are confident that the efficient work of the division will further strengthen the international reputation of Rusatom Healthcare and Rosatom as reliable suppliers of irradiation technology solutions," said Igor Obrubov, CEO of Rusatom Healthcare Division.
Andrey Shevlyakov, CEO of Rosatom South Asia said "Until now, Rosatom was known in Bangladesh only for its large-capacity nuclear power plants and the implementation of the Rooppur NPP joint project. However, we actually have expertise in a wide range of high-tech industries. We believe that the supply of gamma irradiation equipment will not only be Rosatom's first non-energy project in Bangladesh, but also a good example of our strengthening cooperation with the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC).”
Gamma treatment of food items enables an increase in the shelf life of products several times. In addition, it is the only method that allows achieving a degree of purity of products 10-6. Ionizing gamma irradiation breaks the chemical bonds of harmful microorganisms and leaves no residual traces. Such sterilization ensures the death of pathogenic forms of microorganisms in the form of spores and non-pathogenic microorganisms inside a material.
Due to the penetrating ability of ionizing radiation, it is possible to treat products while maintaining the integrity and tightness of the packaging. Another advantage of this method is the absence of a "degassing" process in the technology — this means that the products are ready for use immediately after treatment. The safety of this method has been confirmed by the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations) and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). All this ensures a growing worldwide demand for "cold" sterilization with ionizing radiation.
Rusatom Healthcare Division, which makes part of Rosatom, among other things, implements projects to create multifunctional centers for treating products with gamma irradiation in Russia and overseas.
The Scientific Research Institute of Technical Physics and Automation has developed process installations using the Co-60 (cobalt-60) isotope. The gamma installation has a deeper penetrating capacity and is suitable for medium- and high-density materials. NIITFA developed industrial gamma installations for the Era gamma treatment center, Karpov Institute of Physical Chemistry, and other companies within Rosatom's circuit.