IAEA approves Nepal's membership, US yet to give nod

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Kathmandu, Oct 14 (UNI) With Nepal seeking IAEA membership, the UN nuclear watchdog has given its approval and is now waiting for the green light from the US.

Responding to an application by the Nepal government, the board of governors and general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency recommended and approved its membership, Kantipur newspaper quoted scientists at the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology as saying.

Senior scientific advisor Devi Dutta Poudel said the country would seek benefit mainly in medical and agriculture sectors.

''Without being a member of the Agency, Nepal can not buy high doses of radio isotopes and other nuclear material which are important in various research work and in mutating the genes of plants and animals, as well as in the treatment of cancer,'' Mr Poudel said.

Citing non-membership of the IAEA, a Chinese company had declined selling bareggy therapy, important in treating cancer patients, to Bharatpur cancer hospital, the newspaper reported.

''We are not going to use nuclear energy for destructive purposes like making atom bomb, but we will seek benefit in the scientific, agriculture, medical sector,'' he said.

Parliament will have to ratify the decision before becoming a member country of the IAEA, according to Mr Poudel.

For the last ten years, the country's scientists have been raising their voice for membership but their demands were turned down citing an unfavorable situation in the country.

As the country has an atomic energy policy, an atomic energy plant can also be built with close monitoring and evaluation by the agency.

UNI

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