Huarangal Centro Nuclear Anniversary
LIMA – The Huarangal Centro Nuclear was opened on December 19, 1988 and celebrates its twenty-third anniversary this month. It was built to be the biggest science and technology complex in the history of Peru.
Although the outcome of the Peruvian nuclear complex has been good throughout the years, many believe it would be better if a long-term strategic plan had been set in place for the plant at its inauguration, much like similar plants in Argentina and Brazil. Argentina and Brazil are at the forefront in the region for pacific and scientific use of nuclear energy.
Huarangal represented a series of great achievements for Peru. Perhaps one of the most important achievements was the development of scientific and technical professionals.
Before the nuclear plant in Peru was constructed, a group of young students were sent to the Argentinian atomic center to become qualified in nuclear power reactor (RP10) installation that would soon become the Huarangal Centro Nuclear. Rolando Páucar Jáuregui, a nuclear physicist, was among the chosen students to learn about the nuclear reactors. “I had the fortune to be part of that group of youths that in that instance did not know the magnitude of the impact that this project would bring to our country and our lives,” Páucar said.
Huarangal includes many different installations, including RP10, experimental physics laboratory reactors, laboratory science, a radioisotope production facility, laboratory calibrations and secondary plant radioactive waste management.
Above all, the plant has accomplished conglomerate investigation and new technology development. The science practiced in the laboratories doesn’t have limits as the investigations are first rate and recognized on an international level. The main uses and services of the RP10 reactor are directed at nuclear reactor technology, radioisotope production, material science, neutron activation analysis, training and nuclear reactor technology training.
At the heart of the nuclear center sits the power reactor 10 (RP-10) with 10 megawatts of thermal power. The RP-10 is a nuclear installation that controls nuclear fission, including the breaking of the atomic nucleus of uranium-235 (U-235) that releases large amounts of energy, neutrons and radiation emission. The neutrons produced in this way are used for research and radioisotope production.
The most important utility the nuclear center has is the Radioisotope Production Plant. The production at this plant is aimed at applications in nuclear medicine for the diagnosis of diseases, thyroid disease treatment and, most recently, therapies for the treatment of pain in patients with terminal illnesses.
Some other uses of the nuclear plant are geared towards oil well logging, interconnection of aquifers, reservoir leakage studies for the detection of flaws in welding and agricultural optimization of fertilizer use, among other uses.
Páucar hopes that the next years at the Huarangal Nuclear Center will “open to change and new technological innovations that give a new light to what is, without a doubt, the best investment of the Peruvian state in science and technology.”