Chennai, Nov 11 (IANS) Belgium's King Albert II, who is visiting Tamil Nadu, said his country was hoping for greater collaboration with India in the field of science and technology even as an agreement on nuclear cooperation was signed Tuesday.
'We are extremely happy to take this opportunity to collaborate with India in several areas of science and technology,' King Albert said at a seminar here on 'Energy and Sustainable Development'.
The seminar was jointly hosted by the Indian Nuclear Society (INS) and the University of Madras.
The INS signed a memorandum of understanding for technology cooperation with the Belgium Nuclear Society Tuesday in the presence of the royal visitor, who is accompanied by a large delegation of experts. The king is here as part of a 10-day visit to India that ends Wednesday.
The two societies want nuclear cooperation between Belgium and India for technologies used in medical research, cancer therapy, crop mutation and such applied sciences.
The Belgians are specifically seeking Indian collaboration for their Myrrha experimental fast reactor project which is in progress and India is looking at participating in the ITER fusion reaction project. ITER is the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor.
Presenting a paper on the Myrrha reactor that Belgium is developing at a cost of Euro 750 million, William D. D'Haeseleer, director, University of Leuven Energy Institute, said this multipurpose reactor could be 'a very good radio isotope production machine'.
'India has made considerable advance in using thorium as reactor fuel and has mastered closed fuel cycle technology. We in Belgium are looking to collaborate on know-how in this area,' D'Haeseleer told IANS.
King Albert too added his voice to a call for collaboration on thorium technology and also sought cooperation 'in the field of desalination of sea water, a technological byproduct of nuclear reactors, which India has put at the disposal of society'.
Baldev Raj, director, Indira Gandhi Center for Atomic Research, told IANS: 'Belgians are very good with medical technology and we are looking at upgrading our medical hardware with Belgian cooperation. We are also looking at possible cooperation in the ITER project.'
The Katholieke University, Leuven, signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Chennai Mathematical Institute and the University of Madras signed an MoU with the Flemish Inter-university Council.
On the occasion, the Bangalore University, the Mangalore University, the Vishwesharayya Technical University, the University of Tumkur and the Gulberga University signed memorandums of understanding with Belgium's Ghent University for collaboration in building the Karnataka Academy of Social Sciences and Humanities.
Read More: Tumkur