One of the regular activities of PNS Council is to visit nuclear Centres under strategic organizations, in order to induct new members of the Society and also to learn about welfare-related issues of the present members. In this connection, a two-member delegation of PNS comprising of Dr. Imtinan Elahi Qureshi, President PNS, and Mr. Waqar Ahmad Butt, Executive Member PNS, visited PINSTECH on 1st July 2021, and held discussions with Dr. Qamar-ul-Haque, Director-General PINSTECH in the presence of Director Science, Director Technology, Director Systems and Services, and Director Coordination.
Dr. Qureshi briefed the PINSTECH team about several new initiatives taken by the new Council of PNS, since taking charge with effect from January 2021. While conveying the strong commitment of PNS Council to make the Society a stronger body, he emphasized that the active participation and support of its members is crucial for achieving desired objectives. Dr. Qureshi requested DG PINSTECH to facilitate the enhancement of PNS membership in the Institute, where PNS took birth through the efforts of its distinguished former scientists. Furthermore, PINSTECH scientists may be encouraged to get involved with PNS activities, especially through the creation of scientific educational material in the form of articles, podcasts and infographics.
Dr. Qamar-ul-Haque, who is himself a lifetime member of PNS, assured the visitors that he and his colleagues realize the importance of PNS as a body that is meant for projecting the achievements of scientists working in nuclear and allied disciplines, as well as looking after their broader interests. Underscoring the role of PINSTECH as a hub of R&D in multifarious aspects of nuclear technology, he mentioned the on-going work of building a new research reactor, PARR-3, with indigenous technical expertise.
PINSTECH has previously established its nuclear engineering capability by upgrading PARR1 from 5 to 10 MW and manufacturing its fuel elements. A linear accelerator developed and installed through in-house resources is also an example of outstanding engineering skills of PINSTECH scientists and engineers. Director Technology mentioned the major advances made in the production capacity of Mo-99/Tc-99m generatorswhich at present exceeds the requirements of all 18 cancer hospitals of PAEC and 20 other Govt./private hospitals. The Reactor remains operational for at least 18 hours per week for isotope production and conducting basic research experiment. Additionally, a number of new types of freeze dried radiopharmaceutical kits are being developed in PINSTECH for the diagnostics and therapy of cancer patients. The possibility of using fast neutrons for irradiation of gemstones, which enhances the value of precious stones by 20 to 30 times, was also taken up during the exchange of views with Head of Reactor Operations Group. Besides scores of fascinating research projects being undertaken in PINSTECH, it was heartening to note that two of the research groups in Physics Division are attached to the world’s most renowned experimental facilities; the ALICE detector at CERN (the European Nuclear Research Centre) and Jiangmen Underground Neutrino Observatory in China.
The PNS delegation was escorted to visit PINSTECH library and Auditorium, which were found to be extremely well-maintained. Apart from the pleasure of seeing the expanding role of PINSTECH as ‘mother institute’ of PAEC establishments, both members of PNS team were gripped with nostalgia as former PINSTECH employees who had spent more than a quarter century of their careers in that premises. A key element of a vibrant research environment in any establishment is the interactivity with former colleagues; hopefully PINSTECH will arrange such meetings.