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AFCONE-IAEA Webinar on “Particle Accelerators in Africa: networking by operators and users”

Organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE), this virtual webinar will review the landscape of particle accelerator facilities in Africa, including their current operational status, associated technological challenges, future upgrade plans as well as their role in the socioeconomic development in the region.

The event aims at initiating actions towards establishing a network of accelerator scientists, operators and users from all African countries hosting or planning to host accelerator facilities, including those who wish to access such facilities outside.

Date: 13:30 CET on 27 October 2021

Register for the event here

Agenda (download)


Particle accelerators are machines that produce and accelerate electrically charged particles, which are focused into beams before they impinge on selected materials to either analyse or modify their surface, composition, structure and other properties. Due to their unique analytical capabilities, particle accelerators play a key role in conducting fundamental research and solving problems of modern society related to cancer diagnosis and treatment, environmental monitoring, climate change, water and air quality, forensics, cultural heritage, agriculture, development of advanced materials for energy production, and many other fields. Particle accelerators are also used to produce neutrons, which allow a number of diverse applications too.

Particle accelerators also have a broad range of applications in industry, such as materials processing and ion implantation. These are extensively used to develop digital electronics, harden metallic cutting tools or surfaces of ceramics, modify optics as well as improve artificial human joints. Sterilization of medical products, foodstuff and sewage treatment are modern applications of accelerators as well. 

Accelerator laboratories play a key role in capacity building. They offer access to key scientific tools to users from diverse disciplines acting this way as hubs towards creating critical mass and enhancing coordinated research at national and regional level. Some IAEA Member States like South Africa have a long tradition in benefiting from applications of particle accelerators, while other African countries are gradually incorporating accelerator technologies in their scientific landscape.

Much more about accelerators and their applications will be discussed at the upcoming IAEA International Conference on Accelerators for Research and Sustainable Development taking place from 23 to 27 May 2022 at the IAEA Headquarters in Vienna:

The panellists will make brief presentations followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience. Speakers at the event include:



Mr Sotirios Charisopoulos, Nuclear Physicist, Physics Section, Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences, IAEA

Mr. Charisopoulos received his PhD in Nuclear Physics in 1989 from the University of Cologne, Germany. Sotirios has almost 30 years of research experience in Nuclear Physics and its applications with particle accelerators.  He was the Director of the Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics of the Research Center "Demokritos", Athens, Greece and the director of its Tandem accelerator laboratory. He is the author of more than 180 articles in scientific journals and conference proceedings. He has been the coordinator of various nuclear physics networks, lecturer at various schools and invited speaker at more than 30 international conferences. Reviewer on behalf of various scientific journals and funding agencies of different countries, chair of a number of international conferences and program advisory committees of accelerator laboratories and national representative in various research policy bodies. He was responsible for scientific projects for the establishment or upgrading of research infrastructures with accelerators. As an IAEA senior scientific officer, he focuses on accelerator technologies and their applications with societal and economic importance for IAEA member states.


Mr Damache Smail, Algiers Nuclear Research Centre (CNRA); Algerian Atomic Energy Commission (COMENA), Algeria

Mr Damache Smail is Director of the Nuclear Techniques Division (DTN) in Nuclear Research Centre of Algiers (CRNA). His current scientific activity is focused on atomic and nuclear data measurements using charged particles accelerators. This includes experimental studies of energy loss and energy loss straggling of charged particles in elemental and compound targets using the Algiers 3.75 MV Van de Graaff accelerator as well as a laboratory measurement of nuclear data relevant to astrophysics and gamma astronomy using the Separate-Sector Cyclotron of iThemba LABS. 


Mr Mogahed Al-Abyad, Professor, Nuclear Research Centre (NRC), Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority (EAEA), Egypt

Mr Mogahed Al-Abyad is Professor at the Nuclear Research Centre (NRC). He is also Supervisor of the cyclotron project at NCR, which focuses on nuclear physics training, production of isotopes for medicine and agriculture, analysis of geological samples, and research into the effects of radiation. In addition, he is Head of the Radiological Emergency Committee at the EAEA and a Radiation Protection Qualified Expert.


Mr Christian Nuviadenu, Senior Research Scientist, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Ghana

Mr Christian Nuviadenu is Senior Research Scientist at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC). He is also currently the Head of the Accelerator Research Centre (ARC) at the National Nuclear Research Institute (NNRI) of GAEC. He is involved in local and international research projects, such as atmospheric particulate matter measurements with ion beam analysis techniques at LABEC under the RADIATE Project and Measurement of proton induced γ-ray emission cross sections on Na from 1.0 to 4.1 MeV under an IAEA coordinated research project. He has been providing environmental consultancy services to industries in Ghana and in Gambia.


Mr Obiajunwa Eusebius Ikechi, Head of the Accelerator Laboratory, Centre for Energy Research and Development, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria

Obiajunwa Eusebius Ikechi is Head of the Accelerator Laboratory at the Obafemi Awolowo University. Accelerator laboratory is based on 1.7MV Pelletron Tandem Accelerator that is used for sample analysis. 


Mr Le Roux Strydom, Head of the Accelerator Operations & Technical Support Department, iThemba LABS, South Africa

Le Roux Strydom is Head of the Accelerator Operations & Technical Support Department of iThemba LABS. He is leading a team of 57 personnel that includes engineers, scientists and technicians, who are responsible for operating and maintaining various accelerators including a 6 MV Tandem accelerator and a 200 MeV separated-sector cyclotron with two injector cyclotrons. He manages the implementation of the SAIF project as well as the development, operation and maintenance of the various accelerators and associated infrastructure.


Mr Gregory Hillhouse, Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Botswana International University for Science and Technology, Botswana

Gregory Hillhouse is Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) in Palapye. He leads an initiative to establish the Botswana Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology, consisting of several multidisciplinary laboratories. His current projects include: the development of radioisotopes for medical applications, the development of technologies exploiting the tagged neutron method for detecting large diamonds in kimberlite before crushing the ore in an operational mine, mapping of the background gamma radiation using drones for informing agricultural and mining prospects. He is also one of the BIUST coordinators of "Pan Africa Planetary and Space Science Network", which aims to foster cooperation through mobility for students and academics and support staff from Botswana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zambia.


Mr Alassane Traore, Associated Professor, Department of Physics, University of Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal

Mr Alassane Traore obtained his PhD at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Atomic and Nuclear Physics. His research focuses on the applications and the improvement of nuclear analytical existing methodologies and the development of novel procedures that can be used to assess the bio geo availability contents of metals in the environment. He has been appointed as a national counterpart in several IAEA regional cooperation projects.



Mr  Khammar  Mrabit, Director General, Moroccan Agency for Nuclear and Radiological Safety and Security, Morocco 

Mr  Khammar  Mrabit received his PhD focussing on nuclear physics applied to nuclear power from the University of Strasbourg, France. He has more than 30 years' experience in nuclear and radiation safety, and nuclear security. He joined the IAEA in 1986, where he was involved in and assumed responsibility for many safety and security programmes until 31 May 2016. From 1 April 2011 until 31 May 2016, he was the Director of the Division of Nuclear Security within the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security at the IAEA and was responsible for planning and implementing the IAEA Nuclear Security Plans and Programmes approved by the IAEA's Board of Governors and endorsed by the General Conference. He is currently the Chairman of the Forum of Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa (FNRBA), Chairman of the newly created international Network for Education and Training on Emergency Preparedness and Response (iNET-EPR) and member of the International Commission on Nuclear Safety. On 1 June 2016, Dr. Khammar Mrabit returned to the Kingdom of Morocco to become the first Director General of the newly created Moroccan Agency for Nuclear and Radiological Safety and Security (AMSSNuR), the national Regulatory Body regulating nuclear safety, security and safeguards.