Russia's Scientific Research Institute of Technical Physics and Automation (NIITFA), part of the healthcare division of Rosatom, will supply the required equipment to replace one of the existing gamma irradiation facilities at Savar.

The gamma irradiation facility is designed for the treatment of food (spices and pet food) and medical products and research purposes.

Gamma ray treatment of food items enables an increase in the shelf life of products several times. Also, it is the only method that allows achieving a degree of purity of products 10-6. Ionising gamma irradiation breaks the chemical bonds of harmful microorganisms and leaves no residual traces.

Such sterilisation 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 ionising 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 Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

After the completion of works, Bangladesh will have an upgraded gamma installation with a nominal activity of 400 kilocuries, according to Rosatom, which is also the contractor of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) project.

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. Namely, Co-60 (cobalt-60) radioactive isotopes will be supplied by Isotope JSC.

Rosatom 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).

"The implementation of the project in Bangladesh will allow to develop and strengthen competencies in the field of manufacture of equipment used for gamma irradiation of products," Igor Obrubov, CEO of Rusatom Healthcare Division, 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, Andrey Shevlyakov, CEO of Rosatom South Asia, said.

"However, we 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 BAEC," said Shevlyakov.

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