As a member state of the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), South Korea welcomes nuclear scientists and engineers from abroad who wish to experience South Korea's advanced nuclear technology and facilities. At the end of May, two nuclear experts from Hungary came to Korea on a two-week program for technical cooperation. Dr. Laszlo Wojnnarovits is the director of the Isotope Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and Dr. Erszebet Takac is a scientific advisor and radiation chemist at the same institute. The two researchers were hosted by EB Tech Co., a company pioneering in the field of electron beam application.
Q. What is the purpose of your visit to Korea?
Our work is in the field of basic and applied research for nuclear energy, and we have come to see how the same field of work is conducted here. As of now our main interest is in applying electron beam technology in industrial sectors. In particular, we have a large interest in the newly developed mobile electron accelerator. The mobile accelerator uses irradiation to purify polluted water. Also, because the accelerator is mounted on a vehicle, it is possible to transport the accelerator to different locations as needed. We came to receive and also give consultation on the application of this accelerator and irradiation technology.
Another reason we came here was because of our acquaintance with Director Bum-soo Han of EB Tech. Last year, we held a scientific conference in Hungary and Mr. Han came as a guest and gave a splendid lecture. During our visit here Mr. Han organized many helpful tours for us.
Q. I heard you visited Jeong-eup today. What did you see there, and how was it?
We visited the new research center for advanced technology in Jeong-eup. Jeong-eup is a beautiful region with many mountains, and the trip was enjoyable. We were impressed by the advanced and fancy machines at the research center because as of now Hungary does not have such cutting-edge machines.
Q. How do you expect to apply your experiences in Korea when you go back to Hungary?
We plan to apply electron beam technology not only in the industry but also for medical and diagnostic purposes. We would also like to increase cooperation between scientists in Korea and Hungary. During our trips we discussed with Korean scientists about long-term cooperation strategies, perhaps in the form of exchange programs. In the future we would like to purchase the mobile accelerator but as of now there are no specific plans for this.
Q. How do you predict the future of Hungary's nuclear energy development?
Currently, 40 percent of the electricity used in Hungary comes from nuclear energy. Recently the Hungarian government decided to build more nuclear plants, therefore, in the future this dependence on nuclear energy may increase to 60 percent. Thus we should invest more in developing nuclear technology.
In the past, Hungarian scientists had played an important role in establishing and developing the field of radiation chemistry. Our chemists had won several Nobel Prizes for their achievements. Now many other countries have advanced technology in this field. We hope that the nuclear technology experts of countries around the world can find more channels of cooperation and exchange for further advancement.
Q. All in all, how was your stay in Korea?
Korea is an advanced country, and we are particularly impressed by how clean and organized it is. It is also a beautiful country and the people are very kind. The past two weeks have been thorough and informative and our scientific purposes for being here were met. We have not yet been to the capital of Korea and we plan to spend the last two days of our visit in Seoul.
Q. Are there any last comments you would like to add?
In the past, the harrowing disasters of Chernobyl and Long Island caused a stagnation in nuclear energy development and investment. Yet people soon came to realize that there is no other way to produce enough energy for daily consumption. Oil and gas resources will not last forever, and their prices are high. Perhaps in the future new energy sources could be developed but as for now nuclear energy is the prevailing energy source. Many countries are investing heavily in nuclear technology today. What we are witnessing now is a renaissance of nuclear energy. We hope we can further expand the application of nuclear technology to various fields.