Saturday, March 03, 2001
Bangladesh, as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and
by the terms of reference of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is entitled to
support and technology transfer from nuclear powers for its national agenda of peaceful
uses of atomic energy. We have a long-standing atomic energy commission, and we have fair
enough communications and exchanges with the atomic energy-related establishments of the
We have not been able to make much headway, though, with our Rooppur Nuclear Power
Project. No member of the nuclear club, nor any other advanced country with expertise as
well as safe process and equipment for nuclear power generation have as yet come forward
with technical assistance and support.
Be that as it may, our Atomic Energy Commission has
been engaged in peaceful uses of their nuclear expertise in a limited way in agriculture
and medicine. Nuclear power from our laboratory plant for research-bound fission programme
has been used by the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission to help preservation of bio-germs
of high-yielding crop varieties.
In nuclear medicine, the BAEC has been maintaining
fourteen medical centres and institutes, and extending radio-active treatment to same one
lakh patients annually for thyroid, liver, heart and brain diseases. The BAEC has also
taken the initiative of establishing a tissue-bank. By preservation of human tissues with
nuclear technology, medicament of burn patients and accident victims could be greatly
facilitated in repair of damaged tissues.While we may thus continue to use and expand our
nuclear expertise and equipment for productive and constructive purposes, it is time that
we also think about a role model for ourselves in the world-wide network of nuclear
know-how for instance.Bangladesh happens to be placed strategically in the midst of three
neighbours with nuclear arms capability and arsenal.
The United Nations is duty-bound to
monitor the radio activity in the region through IAEA. Bangladesh very much qualifies as a
site for such monitoring activity. To expand our nuclear expertise and activity perhaps we
could begin discussing that possibility in earnest with UN nuclear establishment.