RCA Regional Office’s Report to Fulfill its Mandate in the Past Year and
The Office’s View on RCA Programs including RCA Management
With Particular Emphasis on the Next Cycle Projects
The RCA Member States expect that the RCA Regional Office (RCA RO) will be able
to move forward with the mandate given to the Office at its inception in March 2002.
The main mandate is on the one hand to increase RCA awareness to the RCA
stakeholders including the public and on the other to promote additional partnership for
Also, the RCA Member States and the IAEA equally expect that the RCA RO could
help in the management of the RCA programme, mainly through participating in the
upstream work for future project formulation. To this effect, the Agency encouraged the
RCA RO, although it is a junior partner, to participate in the upstream work of the future
RCA program, particularly in the 2005-06 projects formulation.
It was suggested that the RCA RO later on could also help the Member States and the
Agency with the remainder of the project management cycle, i.e., implementation,
monitoring and evaluation. Outsourcing of the RCA events is another facet that the
Agency encourages the RCA RO to undertake.
This Position Paper is prepared to address the RCA RO’s efforts to fulfill the mandate of
the past year as well as a view on how the Office could help in the management of the
RCA program, particularly with regard to the 2005-06 upstream works. This Paper does
not cover the administrative part of the RCA RO such as issues on the legal provisions
and the functioning of the Advisory Committee (interim). This will be reported
separately to the National RCA Representatives meeting.
2. Past Year Activities
The RCA RO, during the first year, the interim operational period, in do as well as in
name, has made every possible effort to fulfill the mandate.
In order to increase the RCA profile to the RCA stakeholders including the public and
potential partners, the RCA RO has initiated various programs. Promoting a better
understanding of the RCA to the target audience was its main endeavor. Among various
RCA profile increase programs, operation of the RCA RO Internet homepage was
particularly stressed. The RCA RO believes that information flow between the RCA and
its potential stakeholders including international organizations has been improved
substantially through providing necessary information in a timely manner and through
the linkage of their homepages with the RCA RO’s homepage.
In 2001, the RCA RO published the ‘RCA Annual Report’ with main focus on the RCA
success stories in 2001. This elaborated Annual Report has been used for increasing the
RCA awareness to the potential RCA partners.
The Regional Office proactively sought possible project partners. One promising
development was the cooperation with UNESCAP. An MOU that will focus on the
cooperation between the UNESCAP and the RCA on the hazardous waste management
will be drafted soon. Meanwhile, contacts with other international organizations in an
effort to seek possible funding for RCA projects have been generally met with
However, since the Office is already in Korea, although it is in the interim operational
period, the Office could explore several fund sources from the host country. As for the
funds available, the Office could initiate several new programs for the benefit of the
Member States. They are the RCA Post-doctoral Fellowship Training Program and RCA
Master’s Degree Courses. In 2002, under the RCA Post-doc Fellowship Training
Program, a total of 19 post-doc fellows from Member States have been attached to
Korea’s major national nuclear R & D projects. For the Master’s Degree Course, only 1
fellow has participated. But, in 2003, the number will increase.
In addition to these two new initiatives, another new program will be carried out
annually beginning from the latter part of 2003. It is the RCA Medical Internship
Training Program. Total annual number of participants in this program will be 15
fellows. Through the initiation of these new programs, the Regional Office believes it
can contribute to the Member States’ endeavors to cultivate necessary nuclear
manpower as well as to preserve nuclear knowledge for future needs.
3. Financial Aspect of the RCA RO
The RCA RO is confident that the Korean government’s commitment to contribute
financially in the operation and management of the Office will continue. The total
expenses in 2002 for the Office was approximately USD 0.5 million including the cost
for the Director (interim). As of May 2003, the total staff members of the RCA RO are 6
including the Director.
Besides this direct financial contribution by the host government for the operation of the
RCA RO, the Korean government additionally contributed approximately USD 0.5
million to the new programs initiated by the RCA RO. The financial contribution of the
Korean government thus far ranges up to approximately USD 1 million. It is foreseen
that this contribution will increase substantially due to the expansion of staff numbers
and the program of the RCA RO.
4. RCA RO’s View on the Current RCA Management
It is noted that in an effort to upgrade and improve RCA management, several new
initiatives have been introduced into the RCA since 1999. The new initiatives include
the introduction of Thematic Sectors, Lead Country, Two-year Program Cycle, RRUs,
and the opening of the RCA RO. In addition, the Agency strongly envisaged that the
Member States would apply the Agency’s Central Criteria to the project proposal. The
Agency also encouraged the Member States to undertake outsourcing activities when
implementing RCA events. The RCA RO believes that these new initiatives were indeed
valuable measures to encourage the increase of RCA ownership by the Member States.
However, the RCA RO also considers that with a little more supplement, the RCA can
be even more effectively managed.
(Central Criteria) In the past, project proposals were required to meet the Agency’s
model project criteria. In the current project cycles, more emphasis is placed on the
central criterion when the projects are approved. The RCA RO believes that such
requirements are essential for improving the quality of the RCA projects thus create a
more practical socio-economic impact on the region. Therefore, the RCA RO believes
that the application of the current central criteria needs to be continued. But, since each
Member State has different national priorities and different requirements, generally, it
could be difficult to develop a project that could demonstrate equally applicable
government commitments for the participating Member States. Therefore, more
harmonized central criteria could be considered and applied.
(Lead Country) The introduction of the Lead Country concept to the RCA thematic
sectors was a good vehicle to implement the projects effectively. However, the RCA RO
believes that a more dedicated role by the Lead Country is required. This will produce a
more positive project formulation and implementation. Adequate background work and
studies by the Lead Countries when developing new projects is needed. Proper and
efficient communication between the Lead Country Coordinators and project
counterparts should be strengthened. At the same time, communication between the
Lead Country Coordinator and the National RCA Representative of the respective Lead
Country should be made. This will produce orchestrated views on the new project
proposal by the Lead Country Coordinators, project counterparts and the National RCA
Evaluation of the performance of the Lead Countries is as important as the selection and
designation of the Lead Countries. At present, the project committee is responsible for
the evaluation of performance of the respective Lead Country and reports to the
National RCA Representatives meeting for consideration and actions. The RCA RO
hopes it can contribute in the designing of the evaluation guidelines, if the Member
(Two-year Program Cycle) As this decision was made by the IAEA and agreed by the
Member States, only they can modify the cycle duration, if there is a need. The RCA
RO view is that RCA projects can be formulated beyond the 2-year cycle, if this is
appropriate and demanded by the projects. This will be particularly so for the extended
and continuation projects that span more than the 2-year cycle. In order to enable
extended project formulation, it is hoped that delegates from the RCA Member States
could address this matter at the Agency’s policy level meetings, such as the Board of
(RRUs) The RCA RO shares the same view as the Member States that the RRUs are
excellent vehicles not only for effective implementation of the RCA projects but also for
increasing RCA ownership by the Member States. However, the RCA RO also shares
the view with the Member States that the role of the functions of the currently
designated RRUs should be re-examined so more effectiveness can be achieved.
Establishment of an RRU database would greatly contribute to the enhanced utilization
of the RRUs. It was good to learn that the establishment of the RRU database has
already been initiated. But, the database should be regularly upgraded with dedicated
effort. The database can be effectively used for promoting the RCA among the end-
users, the public and potential partners. RCA RO hopes to contribute in this endeavor,
particularly through its RCA information flow scheme.
(Research component in the RCA) It cannot be overlooked that research is one of the
important components of the RCA. “Without research, there is no development”.
“Without development, no utilization. Without utilization, no benefit.” RCA RO
believes these sequences are true. Research is one of the RCA’s mandates (research,
development and training in nuclear science and technology….). Therefore, the RCA
RO’s view is that the RCA should accommodate research component in the program.
Research within the RCA can contribute to the viability of RCA program, for example,
new problems created can be solved using techniques through CRPs, and the results can
be transferred to other Member States. Therefore, appropriate coordination with other
CRPs is needed, when required. Research work may not be funded by the Agency’s TC.
But, it is noted that the TC in some cases is funding certain research projects such as
nuclear medicine. Otherwise, the research can be funded by other organizations.
The RCA RO sincerely hopes that the Post-doc Fellowship Training Program, the
Nuclear Energy Master’s Degree Courses, and the Nuclear Medicine Internship Training
Program can be accommodated into each relevant thematic project as a part of the
project and as a backup for the research and training plan. For example, a post-doc
fellow training program in the field of radiation protection can be accommodated into
the RCA Radiation Protection sector. With this amalgamation, the RCA RO believes
that a more successful outcome can be achieved. To this effect, the RCA RO will make
the initial contact with the LCCs for its accommodation into each thematic sector.
5. RCA RO can help MSs and LCs in the Upstream Work
One of the missions given to the RCA RO is to assist the Member States in formulating
new project proposals. In fact, the Agency and the Member States have strongly
requested the RCA RO to participate in the upstream work for future RCA projects,
particularly in the 205-06 projects formulation. The RCA RO has also been requested to
become involve in project implementation as much as possible. The Agency requested
the RCA RO to undertake outsourcing of RCA events. The RCA RO believes that this
would be a good opportunity to help in formulating RCA programs.
As part of the upstream work for future RCA programs, the RCA RO prepared this
‘Position Paper’ to embrace its views, suggestions and recommendations. The RCA RO
hopes the comments and recommendations will be useful for the Member States,
particularly for Lead Countries when formulating future RCA programs. The RCA RO
hopes the recommendations will serve as a good catalyst for enhancing RCA programs.
Also, it is hoped that the comments and recommendations will fully reflect the regional
aspects of the cooperative programs.
In order to prepare the recommendations, the RCA RO recently formed the ‘Technical
Advisory Committee’. The Committee is comprised of 8 members representing each
thematic sector. The Committee was requested to best reflect the region’s common
needs. The draft recommendations were reviewed by other Korean expert groups and
again reviewed by international experts in May 2003. Recommendations were made for
each thematic sector. It is greatly hoped that the Member States, particularly the Lead
Countries will look kindly at the suggestions made by the RCA RO and consider them
for inclusion in the next RCA project formulation. The RCA RO hopes to contribute to
the implementation of some of the new suggestions when adopted.
(Suggestion for New Proposals)
- Public acceptance of irradiated food is one of the most important tasks that RCA
should emphasize. Public information experts are requested to participate in the food
irradiation project. It is hoped that the Agency’s public information division will support
- Commercial use of FMD antigen and antibody ELISA kits should be encouraged when
regionally produced. The Agency’s support to obtain internationally acceptable
authorization is needed. Production of classical swine fever (CSF) antigen and antibody
ELISA reagent kits is also important for immediate use.
- Symbiotic use of excess heat from power plants, particularly nuclear power plants, for
plant cultivation and fishery farms should be encouraged. Development of radiation
induced mutation-breeding technology for cash crops such as herbs and flowering plants
are requested for consideration.
It is also suggested that the title of this sector (area) should be changed to Food &
(Suggestion for New Proposals)
- Application of PET (Positron Emission Topography) technology for better diagnosis
and treatment of malignance tumors
- Development of therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals and dosimetry-based technology
with particular attention to the use of Ho-166 chitosan as a therapeutic tool
- Development of molecular nuclear medicine technology for gene therapy with
particular stress on oligonucleotide labeled radio-nuclides such as I-125.
In addition, brachytherapy treatment of cervical cancer should be strengthened in view
of the maximum application of LDR and HDR treatment protocols.
Also, an Asian School of Nuclear Medicine is suggested. The School would mainly
stress the development of a uniformed protocol for nuclear medicine and the training
necessary for nuclear medicine professionals can be carried out by e-learning.
Meanwhile, transfer of mothballed nuclear medicine and radiation oncology equipment
from advanced countries to developing countries is recommended. This project can also
be carried out through bi-lateral cooperation. However, regional level cooperation is
much more desirable.
(Suggestion for New Proposals)
- Development of user-friendly (small, light, automatic, wireless…) equipment for
- Development of tomography technology for NDT.
In addition, international harmonization and mutual recognition of the NDT certificate
is recommended for emphasizes.
(Suggestion for New Proposals)
- Use of EB technology for hazardous waste treatment
- Use of EB technology for preventing diffusion of red tide and the HAB phenomena.
It is noted that in the past the RCA has much emphasized on the identification of source
terms using a radiotracer. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that emphasis should
be placed on the practical application of nuclear techniques to solve the currently
impending environmental problems the region faces.
5) Energy/Research Reactor
The RCA RO believes that the establishment of quantitative indicators for sustainable
energy development is important. This issue was discussed at the last project
formulation meeting and addressed with the same recommendation.
As for the research reactor sector, the RCA RO believes that more emphasis should be
placed on radioisotope production. In line with this importance, it was suggested that
the title of this sector should be changed to Research Reactor & RI Production.
Establishment of an RI back-up supply system among the RCA Member States is also
strongly recommended. It was also suggested that the research reactor sector should also
embrace decontamination and decommissioning components for the current as well as
6) Radiation Protection
(Suggestion for New Proposals)
- Assessing the function of regulatory bodies
- Emergency preparedness particularly in relation to lost and misplaced sources
In addition to the new proposals, it is strongly recommended that the effort to
harmonize radiation protection should be continued. Also, the training and re-training of
the radiation workers is important.
(Suggestion for New Proposals)
- Information program for RCA related persons, particularly event participants in order
to promote a better understanding of the RCA
- Strengthened information networking with RCA related organizations including
international organizations and the industry
The function of the RCA Regional Homepage under the ENO scheme should be
strengthened more. This will contribute to a better RCA information flow thus increases
public awareness about the RCA and promote RCA viability. An orchestrated effort
should be made among the RCA Regional Homepage, RCA Regional Office Homepage
and IAEA/RCA – TC Homepage.
The e-learning program (cyber education) should be enhanced within the framework of
the ENO. Internet tele-centers for educational purpose should be established in RCA
Member States so that the centers can receive and transfer the curriculum effectively.
The RCA RO can help in the establishment of tele-centers by providing equipment and
It is suggested that the current ENO component could in the future constitute a separate
sector based on the TCDC and could embrace all IT based e-learning projects within the
6. RCA Visions
Back in 1997, at the National RCA Representatives meeting in Yangon, Myanmar, the
RCA Vision Statement was adopted. Based on this Vision, several new initiatives to
increase RCA ownership by the Member States have been taken. Some of the most
significant were the adoption of the RCA Operating Rules and Guidelines. The
establishment of the RCA RO was also a significant step. RCA visions began to be
realized. But, this is still a far cry from its ultimate goal. The goal of the RCA can be
said to be the sustainable development and self-reliance of the RCA programs.
The 21st century requires a more vivid vision that reflects the rapidly changing political,
economical, social and even technological situation in our everyday life. The RCA RO
believes that to achieve the RCA’s vision successfully under this situation, the RCA’s
mission should be implemented as follows:
The RCA RO believes that the RCA programs should be focused on solutions for the
problems that the RCA region faces instead of the traditional capability-building
activities. The RCA programs should be competitive in the regional or international
technology market. The technology that the RCA develops should be fully utilized by
the end-users. In this regard, the RCA RO believes that the RCA should introduce a
business development strategy that will enable direct links between the RCA and the
end-users. Development of user-friendly technology and one-to-a customer policy
would help the RCA to achieve sustainable development and self-reliance.
The RCA RO hopes to assist the Member States in establishing end-user development
units. The RCA RO hopes to help in the construction and operation of business
development infrastructures in the Member States. The RCA RO has a plan to organize
an expert group that will function for this purpose. At the same time, the RCA RO plans
to form a task group that will devise ways to raise RCA funds. The RCA RO hopes that
the task group work will be completed before the Office enters its normal functions after
the interim operation phase.
7. The Future of RCA RO
The present interim operation of the RCA RO will end in March 2004. If legal
provisions for the establishment and operation of the RCA RO are not completed by that
time, the interim operational period can be extended for another year, i.e., March 2005.
The RCA RO Advisory Committee (interim) will discuss this matter and will report to
the next National RCA Representatives meeting for decision. The RCA RO hopes the
Office will have legal entity status to represent the Member States before RCA partners.
The current legal provision is that the Member States can provide an adoption of a
Resolution by the meeting of the National RCA Representatives. The RCA RO hopes
this Resolution will have the same legal effectiveness as an agreement.
The Agency will keep functioning as the secretariat of the RCA as described in the RCA
Agreement. The RCA RO hopes to assist in some of the administrative works of the
Agency. The RCA RO hopes to actively participate in the upstream work of the RCA
program with the Member States, particularly with the Lead Countries. By undertaking
outsourcing work of the RCA events on behalf of the Agency, the RCA RO, when
entering into normal functions, could assist with the Agency. However, the RCA RO’s
main functions remain its mandate.