Bunge committee out to address TAEC’s challenges

THE Parliamentary Budget Committee, has resolved to address challenges facing the Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission (TAEC).

The committee’s chairperson Daniel Sillo, said here recently that they engage the government in addressing challenges faced by the commission with a view of enhancing its performance.

Mr Sillo, whose committee visited TAEC last week, said the commission was still grappling with a number of setbacks such as shortage of staff, working equipment and little budget allocation.

“The committee has heeded to your calls and we want to assure that these challenges will be addressed sooner than later,” he assured.

According to Mr Sillo, TAEC was vested with a sensitive yet crucial task of regulating the use of radiation and other functions, thus it was imperative for the government to prioritise it.

“This is a very sensitive institution charged with the control of the peaceful uses of nuclear technology, promotion of the peaceful application of nuclear technology and atomic energy,” he observed.

In the same vein, the committee chairperson commended the commission in its quest of offering the public with awareness and knowledge on safe use of radiation services.

For his part, TAEC Director General Professor Lazaro Busagala, said the registered success notwithstanding, the agency was still contending with the challenge of transportation of radioactive material such as Uranium.

“Transport of radioactive material by its nature gives rise to the risk of accidents with the potential for radiological exposures that could impact the safety of people, property and the environment,” he warned.

Established by the Atomic Energy Act No. 7 of 2003, the TAEC is mandated to provide regulatory, promotion of nuclear technology in the country and to co-ordinate or facilitate or advise on, the transfer and safe, peaceful utilisation of nuclear technology and atomic energy.

The regulatory functions of the Commission among other things is to perform radiation safety inspections in all radiation workplaces in the country.

If the radiation safety status of the facility is adequate, the Commission issues authorisation in the form of licence.

However, if the radiation practices pose radiological risks to persons and environment, the Commission   according to Section 6 (i) of the Atomic Energy Act may suspend or close down facilities.

Exposure to high radiation levels is said to have a wide range of effects to a person, such as vomiting, bleeding, fainting, hair loss and the loss of skin and hair.

The radiation exposure can cause cell mutations that may lead to cancer.

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