The Park of Nuclear Technologies JSC: We Combine Science and Business
Abzal Kusainov, President of the Park of Nuclear Technologies JSC answers our questions.
Abzal Tursynbaevich, it has been two years since your last interview to our magazine. What progress has been achieved in the development of the nuclear technologies park infrastructure during this period?
During this period the technopark underwent considerable changes. First of all, a great deal of work was done to create infrastructure and to commercialize scientific developments. So, in 2010, we accomplished the construction of a complex of buildings, intended for administrative and production purposes. This complex passed through state inspection and consists of a business center, business incubator, laboratory, industrial premises, offices, and exhibition and conference halls.
Equipped with a modern data communication and telecommunication network, the complex offers premises for rent and provides related services. We provide services in development and support of business, such as business planning, marketing research, searching for funding sources, etc., as well as commercialization of scientific developments, legal and consulting services, setting up of science-intensive productions, and information and exhibition services. The integrated network of telecommunication and IT infrastructure allows the employees and customers of the technopark to use IP-telephony services and provides access to Internet and Wi-Fi.
In September 2010, the technopark premises hosted the First International Conference, called Innovative Technologies: Reality and Prospects. Delegates from the CIS countries – Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, and from abroad – the UK and Germany, as well as representatives of the Closed Nuclear Centers Programme attended this event. Total, 126 scientists and experts from seven countries in the world took part in the conference. They made 33 speeches and 8 poster presentations; this marks the high intellectual nature of the conference.
One more important event was the fact of issuing to the Nuclear Technologies Park a certificate of compliance with the quality management system ISO 9001:2008 in December 2010. Also, in the current year our company has successfully passed through the first QMS audit.
This certificate confirms that works carried out in the below-mentioned areas comply with international standards. These areas involve the search, examination and selection of innovative projects, carrying out market research and developing business plans, investment in innovation projects, search for grantors and co-investors, irradiation of materials with a directed flux of electrons with the set parameters to give them new physical and chemical properties or to carry out biological sterilization.
Could you tell in detail about the nuclear units of the Nuclear Technologies Park and opportunities they open for research and production?
One of the unique services the technopark offers is the irradiation at the industrial electron accelerator ELV-4, and from the year 2012 at the electron accelerator ILU-10. The accelerators ELV-4 and ILU-10 are widely used as a source of ionizing radiation in radiation-thermal technologies to solve assignments of scientific and applied nature. Irradiation at the accelerators makes it possible to significantly improve the characteristics of materials: to increase their operating time and factor of resistance to physical and chemical influences.
Moreover, the commissioning into operation of the accelerator ILU-10 will allow to attract enterprises of the medical cluster to the technopark and to provide the output and highest sterilization of radiation-crosslinked pharmaceuticals, disinfectants, medical products and medical clothing. Apart from this, the unit will allow to carry out radiation cross-linking and processing of wire and cable products, as well as sterilization of food products. In general, the electron irradiation technology can be applied in various fields of production.
Thus, by using our electron accelerators, domestic companies will not only improve the technical features of their products; they will increase competitiveness of their products in the market.
What kind of work is currently in progress to further strengthen the material and technical basis of the technopark?
In principle, all the technopark’s activities on implementation of innovative projects are aimed at creating and strengthening the existing infrastructure of nuclear facilities of the Kurchatov town and creating new industrial complexes. For example, the construction of a building for radiation sterilization on the basis of the industrial electron accelerator ILU-10 started in 2010. Now the installation of technological equipment and accelerator itself is in full swing. It is planned to launch the accelerator into operation by the 20th anniversary date of Kazakhstan’s independence.
It is known that the Nuclear Technologies Park’s mission is to be a platform for "nurturing" high-tech companies. How successful is this process? What companies are already operating in the technopark area?
To date, the technopark’s infrastructure hosts eleven enterprises, established on a public-private partnership basis. All of them are focused on output of high-tech products and innovative services.
For example, the Kaz-Kor NuTech Company LLP produces radiation-crosslinked waterproof roofing, Merusar and Co. LLP medical work clothes, and InTehnos LLP together with the Institute of Atomic Energy, the latter a structural division of the Republican State Enterprise The National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan, radiant heating systems. Three joint Kazakhstan-Russian ventures operate on the territory of the Nuclear Technologies Park. They are LLP Kazfoam, producing radiation-crosslinked polyethylene foam, LLP Xsenon, producing radiation-synthesized pharmaceuticals and therapeutic mineral water, and LLP MunayGazIzolyatsiya, manufacturing shrunk-on rings and straps for the oil and gas industry and communal utilities. One more Kazakhstan-Ukrainian joint venture - LLC Dempurg-PNT engages in output of train-stop equipment for rolling stock of rail transport, including radiation-crosslinked coupling hose pipes.
Some companies, located on the territory of the technopark, engage in provision of services. Among them are LLP EnergoAuditKazahstan, offering energy audit services to public and industrial facilities, LLP Open Kazakhstan Education, providing educational and consulting services, LLP Atomproject, engaged in consulting services, and LLP IT-Link, providing marketing services related to communications equipment and Wi-Fi installation services.
Under the Nuclear Technologies Park development strategy, we are planning by the year 2020 to incubate over 20 successful high-tech companies in the field of nuclear, radiation and related technologies. I can assure that the technopark’s activities will add to creation of a favorable business climate for development of small and medium businesses, as well as contribute to the progress of socio-economic development of the Kurchatov town and the region as a whole.
What new innovative projects are in the technopark’s plans for implementation in the near future?
In prospect, we are planning a number of innovative projects, which will be implemented on the territory of the Nuclear Technologies Park. These projects involve services in cleaning and decontamination of radioactively contaminated tubing and oilfield equipment, production of radioisotope products, and services in irradiation of materials with neutrons and protons, as well as the manufacture of medical vascular stents by using radiation sterilization technology.
The setting up of regional radiation and technology centers will open great opportunities for promotion of radiation technologies in various sectors of the economy, as well as for provision of services in sterilization of medical products and food, grain disinfestation, wastewater treatment, medical waste disposal, etc.
One more promising project is the setting of a production line for radiation modification of the polymer coating of cable products. Among priority projects is also the setting up of a venture for processing of ore and mining dumps to extract the rare earth metals and for production of nuclear fuel for safe subcritical reactors.
What role, in your opinion, is given to the Nuclear Technologies Park in the state-run Program of Accelerated Industrial and Innovative Development of Kazakhstan for 2010–2014?
Under the Program of Accelerated Industrial and Innovative Development, a modern infrastructure has to be created in Kazakhstan for implementation of innovative projects. Among the successful examples of such innovative system creation is the Nuclear Technologies Park. Today, we can say with confidence that the greater part of the objectives set before us has been successfully fulfilled. The evidence of that is the currently existing and created infrastructure of our Technologies Park, adjusted production and commercialization of innovative technologies, ideas and projects.