Improving the Quality, Safety and Reliability of Constructions and Industrial Goods in Lao PDR
Improving the Quality, Safety and Reliability of Constructions and Industrial Goods in Lao PDR
IAEA facilitates South-South Cooperation between Viet Nam and Lao PDR to enhance Lao PDR’s capacities in non-destructive testing for quality control, safety and reliability of materials used for construction and in industry


Natural disasters have caused damage to critical infrastructure, including buildings, roads and dams, in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). In 2018, Lao PDR experienced a dam failure in the southern part of the country that killed hundreds of people and washed away thousands of houses.

Lao PDR has an ambition to become the “battery of Asia” and plans to build additional hydropower plants for electricity generation which need to meet international standards to ensure the safety of people and the environment. The Government approached the IAEA for support in establishing an adequate level of national capacity in the use of non-destructive testing (NDT) of materials used for construction, structural integrity in industry, transport and other areas. NDT technology including radiation-assisted techniques enables the evaluation of the quality and reliability of materials and structures without damaging the tested objects in construction and industrial applications.  The technology can be used as a powerful tool for the routine inspection and assessment of integrity of civil structures including critical infrastructural elements such as dams, bridges, industrial and public buildings, etc.  

Towards a Solution

Enhancing Lao PDR’s capacities in non-destructive testing will contribute to the attainment of SDG 9, thereby increasing industrial safety in the long run, especially in the sectors where structural integrity is at stake. It will create a sound basis for the pre-disaster management culture with timely identification of potential problems and bottlenecks, adequacy of technical retrofitting and enhanced level of preparedness to withstand the destructive power of natural or man-made phenomena.

In 2020, the IAEA launched a four-year technical cooperation project aimed at establishing basic NDT infrastructure and building the necessary human resource capacities to enhance quality control of materials produced and used in industries and public works in Lao PDR. The project is being implemented together with experts from Viet Nam, addressing one of the areas of cooperation identified and agreed upon in a formal agreement signed in 2019 between the IAEA, Lao PDR and Viet Nam on Strengthening South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Implementation of the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme.

The agreement is one of two separate but complementary trilateral agreements which have been developed in response to an offer from Viet Nam to support its neighboring countries, Lao PDR and Cambodia. The aim of the cooperation is to enhance the countries’ capacities in the safe application of nuclear science and technology in a broad range of priority development areas, from NDT to nuclear medicine and mutation breeding.

Regarding the assistance to be provided to Lao PDR, Viet Nam is expected to support both short- and long-term education and training programmes over an initial period of three years, as well as to provide experts and lecturers to nuclear science and technology institutions. Viet Nam will also provide additional practical support by allowing the use of its own technical analytical laboratory facilities.

Under the project with Lao PDR related to NDT for quality control of materials, Viet Nam will provide experts, scientific visits, and also train fellows at institutes in Viet Nam, while the IAEA will procure relevant equipment, ensure the technical integrity of the activities and facilitate collaboration through technical meetings and workshops. Upon completion of the project, Lao PDR will have the necessary capacities to use NDT technology involving radiation to improve the quality and reliability of materials used in construction and industry.  In 2020, IAEA has launched training and certification of Lao professionals in 4 key NDT methods and procurement of the first batch of NDT equipment worth up to EUR75,000 for testing metal and concrete.  

The approach of implementing projects within a formal agreement focused on South-South and Triangular Cooperation increased the efficiency and effectiveness of IAEA technical cooperation activities with the countries. Inter alia this helped address the challenges of NDT applications in the civil infrastructure domain with its distinct specificity as an unfolding relatively new and multi-faceted area in need of innovative approaches and solutions. It has allowed projects to be implemented faster due to pre-agreed areas and methods of cooperation that have also reduced the costs related to the training of fellows, as well as expert and scientific visits.  

Contact Information

Mykola Kurylchyk (PMO) and Gashaw Wolde (Section Head) Programme Management Officer and Head, Asia and the Pacific Section 1, Department of Technical Cooperation, IAEA Email address:;

Countries involved

Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Viet Nam

Supported by

IAEA and Viet Nam

Implementing Entities


Project Status


Project Period

2020 - 2021

Primary SDG

09 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

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