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The Zambia Radiation Protection Authority Conducts a Training Course in Lusaka on Safe Transportation of Uranium Ore and Radioactive Sources

In line with the Implementation Plan of the EU-funded Project MC 5.01 15B “Support to Southern African States in Nuclear Safety and Safeguards”, the Zambia Radiation Protection Authority (RPA) in collaboration with the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) hosted a training course on nuclear transportation safety in Lusaka from 1 through 6 July 2019. The fifty-three participants were from the customs office, government ministries, regulatory bodies, customs clearing agents, national anti-terrorism institution, hospitals (Nuclear Medicine divisions), mining industries, uranium exploration company, a research and training centre, companies involved in industrial radiography and transportation companies. The training had participants from customs offices from two neighboring countries namely DRC and Mozambique. 

RPA Executive Director Dr. Boster Dearson Siwila provided an overview of RPA mandate is to provide for the protection of the public, workers and the environment from hazards arising from the use of devices or materials capable of producing ionizing radiation while advising the Government on policies, measures and matters relating to ionizing radiation. The Authority fulfils its mandate by engaging in: Licensing and Authorization of facilities, Personnel Dosimetry, Radioactive Waste Management, Environmental Monitoring, Emergency Preparedness and Response and Monitoring Transportation of Radioactive Materials. He pointed out that currently the largest quantity of Radioactive Material that has been transported through Zambia is the Uranium Oxide Concentrates (UOC) from Kayelekera Mine (KM) in Karonga, Malawi to Walvis Bay, Namibia. He explained the safety procedures of transportation of UOC which include but not limited to packaging, dose monitoring and emergency preparedness and response.

Mr. Miyombo Miyombo, Radiation Safety Officer, RPA, provided a lecture describing the categorization of radiation sources, based on the potential for sources to cause harm to human health, that serves as internationally accepted basis for risk informed decision making. Other lecturers included: Ms. Melody Mwewa, the RPA Principal Radiation Safety officer; Emmanuel Lungu, the Information Communication Technology expert, RPA; Ms. Grace Bwalya Susiku, Radiation Safety, RPA; Mr. James Simuko Phiri, RPA; Major Choongo Zaza, personnel trained in Nuclear Security from the Ministry of Defence; etc. Mrs. Misozi Kapeya, the legal officer of RPA, delivered a lecture on the how the Authority has been involving stakeholders in drafting regulations on transportation of radiation sources. She further presented the already completed draft regulations on transportation. Participants visited the Chirundu Border post, where they met Customs Officials and attended a presentation by Mr. Christopher Mwango from Zambia Revenue Authority, on Safety and Security Incidents of Radioactive Materials.

The training course in Lusaka demonstrated the usefulness of the train-the –trainer approach applied under Project MC 5.01 15B “Support to Southern African States in Nuclear Safety and Safeguards”, whereby the representatives of interested sectors of the industry, the government agencies and research communities increase their knowledge in nuclear safety and safeguards. The average increase in the post test results as compared to the entry test was above 15 percent of improvement of knowledge and skills.

 

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