Costa Rica’s Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Epsy Campbell Barr, reiterated on Wednesday the country’s commitment to the peaceful development of atomic energy, during the Ministerial Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) taking place in Vienna, which Costa Rica co-chairs together with Japan.
“We reiterate our support and cooperation, so that the activities of the Atomic Energy Agency contribute to the peaceful development of atomic energy,” said the Foreign Minister, speaking at the plenary, dedicated to science, technologies and nuclear applications for peaceful purposes and the supply to the Member States through the Technical Cooperation program.
Costa Rica has been a member state of the IAEA since 1965. The IAEA has 170 member states as of May 2018.
Minister Campbell highlighted the offer of the Cooperación Sur-Sur through the public universities of Costa Rica, and the Collaborating Centers of the IAEA accredited in the country, which supports research, development and training activities, aimed at promoting the achievement of the goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She also highlighted the case of the Centro de Investigación en Contaminación Ambiental (CICA) – Center for Research in Environmental Pollution – of the University of Costa Rica, which became the accredited laboratory in the region of reference tests for environmental protection and for the proper use of pesticides in agriculture.
She also cited the Laboratorio de Plasma para Energía de Fusión y Aplicaciones del Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica (Plasma Laboratory for Fusion Energy and Applications of the Technological Institute of Costa Rica), which seeks to be accredited as the first Center for Collaboration in Plasma and Nuclear Fusion of the IAEA in the world, becoming the reference Center for the Latin American region and from the Caribbean.
“Nuclear fusion gives us an enormous opportunity: to obtain large amounts of energy in a much cleaner and safer way than using fossil fuels or nuclear fission,” she explained.
“Costa Rica is a Latin American leader in plasma research and fusion. We are part of the International Fusion Research Council of the IAEA, and we aspire to collaborate with renowned institutions to strengthen the scientific community. The Plasma and Fusion Laboratory will offer in 2019 the first training workshop “Latin Fusion Energy” aimed at scientists around the world,” said Campbell.
“We also celebrate that said Laboratory and the National Children’s Hospital would be working together for the application of plasma in medical uses within the framework of the 2020-2021 Technical Cooperation Program, an unprecedented event for this Program. We highlight the high scientific value with the Costa Rican stamp of the plasma research in medicine, agriculture and industry “, highlighted the Chancellor.
The Vice President and Chancellor also took the opportunity to call for an increase in the geographical representation of the Agency’s staff and for gender equality and equity policies to be promoted as a cross-cutting axis of the organizational structure and its programs.
“History has shown us that the participation of women has enriched nuclear science and technology with pioneering contributions. Education in Science and Technology has a multiplying effect that enables equal opportunities and the eradication of poverty,” she said.
For more on Costa Rica’s atomic energey program, visit Comisión de Energía Atómica de Costa Rica website.