TAEC empowers institutions to handle radioactive materials

THE Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission (TAEC) implements a programme for imparting various institutions in the public and private sector with knowledge on proper handling of radioactive materials.

The programme targets institutions that use radioactive minerals technologies in their daily executions.

These, include the institutions in the road construction sector, health and water, mining, crude oil pumps construction, as well as nuclear power generation.

Mr Jerome Mwimanzi, Senior Research Officer at the TAEC said handling of the radioactive materials requires technological awareness and precautions in order to avoid possible effects to environment and human beings.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the event to mark this year’s observation of the International Disaster Reduction Day, held at the national level in Dodoma Capital City.

The country’s atomic energy watch-dog, TAEC, was among the institutions that took part in the event.

He expressed that the implementation of the programme was part of response to the prior incidents of outbreak of numerous dangerous disasters that were chiefly propelled due to poor handling of the isotopes -based minerals.

“Records show that there are at least 30 disaster incidents that occurred in the past due to unprofessional (illegal) trafficking of radioactive sources in the country,” Mwimanzi detailed.

He added that illegal importation and marketing of uranium was the other negative development that has been contributing to outbreak of dangerous disasters, noting that the TAEC was continuing to step up key initiatives to curb the spate in cooperation with other like-minded institutions.

The Officer unveiled that the Commission had so far developed vital regulations.

These, according to him, include the Regulation on the Radiation Safety in the Mining and Processing of Radioactive Ores, 2011, together with the Packaging and Transportation of Radioactive Materials of 2011.

According to Prof Lazaro Busagala, Director General of TAEC,  there has been an increase in the wave of unauthorised importation of various radioactive minerals, the poor development which puts the national security,  as well as the citizens’ health at stake.

So far, he said TAEC has managed to detect and legally deal with a total of 17 incidences of such poor tendencies at the different regions at the country’s borders, which is a grim revelation.

“For instance,  in one among the notorious incidents, our intelligent system managed to nab a local citizen in Dar es Salaam who illegally imported more than 9kg of processed Uranium (U238 Uranium,  2.6× 109Bq/g),” he detailed.

Despite having vital socioeconomic benefits, if not handled professionally, the radioactive minerals, including Uranium, can cause negative effects to humans, including destruction of body cells, serious eye diseases and blindness, loss of manhood and other environmental destructions.

Radioactive minerals are minerals that contain radioactive isotopes, which are atoms of an element with an unstable nucleus that decays, or breaks down, over time. This decay releases energy in the form of radiation, which can be harmful to humans.

During 2021/2022, he communicated, TAEC had managed to increase inspections of imported food products to at least 66,609 inspections, being an increase of 274 per cent inspections in comparison to a total of 7,817 inspections conducted during 2016/2017.

Tanzania has been a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since 6 January 1976 and through the development the country has been receiving numerous key profits, including technical and facility assistance in implementing a number of projects in the health, agriculture, livestock and energy sectors, to mention but a few.

The Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission (TAEC) is the regulatory body responsible for all atomic energy matters in the United Republic of Tanzania. It was established under the Atomic Energy Act No. 7 of 2003.

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