NUCLEAR terrorism brought about by illegal use of radiological dispersive devices is now becoming a phenomenon of worldwide concern, in respect of which Tanzania, through the Tanzania Atomic Commission, is already taking serious precautions.
“We are aware that the threat to public safety and security posed by some form of nuclear terrorism through the possible use of radiological dispersive devices (RDDs) is not fiction and has now become a global cause of anxiety,” stated Dr Firmi Banzi, the acting Director General for the Arusha based Tanzania Atomic Commission (TAEC).
Dr Banzi was addressing delegates during the one of the sessions of the just held ‘International Response Force Training,’ which was organized by the Government through TAEC, in collabora tion with the United States’ Department for Energy (USDOE).
The training was attended by 35 representatives from various, medical, research and security organs, including the Police, the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) of Dar es salaam, Bugando Medical Center from Mwanza, Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Research Institute (TTRI) of Tanga as well as regulators from TAEC.
The TAEC Acting Direc tor General pointed out that “In Tanzania, we have experienced incidents of illicit trafficking of radioactive materials, whereby unauthorized people attempted to possess radioactive sources to make quick money by selling them to other persons who are similarly not authorized to handle such supplies,” he said.
According to Dr Banzi, since the radioactive materials could be used for various applications, some being deadly, they could easily become sources for nuclear terrorism; “…And because of these, all unprotected radiation sources worldwide are being recognized as potential threats for everyone,” he added.
In broader and legal terms, ‘nuclear terrorism’ was described at the training as being an offence committed when a person unlawfully and intentionally “uses in any way radioactive material, with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury to another person.