The Atomic Energy Council (AEC) in Uganda, through its experts laboured so hard, to sensitize the public and radiation trainees on how to ensure safety during the transportation of radioactive materials, from one destination to another.
This was achieved on Friday November 26th, 2021, during a one day sensitization and training seminar, on safe and secure transportation of radioactive materials, held at Silver Springs Hotel, Bugolobi.
The seminar was intended to impart additional knowledge to different professionals from various agencies, on the use of radiation technology, major focus being how to ensure their own safety, that of the public and radioactive equipment itself, during transportation.
The training was also used as an avenue to defuse worries among people, with doubt on one’s safety, in an event of administering radiation related treatments in health facilities, like radiotherapy for cancer patients. In short, it was used to highlight other benefits of nuclear energy.
In attendance were experts from various agencies like Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Ministry of Defence, Health Ministry, regulatory agencies and others like road construction companies, transportation companies.
While addressing the trainees, Principal Radiation Officer at AEC, Natharius Nimbashabira stressed the need for sustained communication between radioactive material transporters and regulatory authorities.
This, he said helps movers to be aided incase anything goes wrong during transportation, like accidents and diversion.
“During transportation you can get an accident and also, the vehicle can catch fire. Another issue is; they can divert you from the intended route. You might have planned that you want to travel from point A to point B, but they might divert you, that means all you had planned for that particular route has to change. So those are some incidents to do with transport of radioactive material. It is important that you report immidiately,” Mr Nimbashabira remarked.
He also emphasised the need for vigilance by radioactive material transporters and owners, during the movement of these products from one place to another.
He made it crystal clear, that any carelessness can lead to a series of serious consequences, like loss of the material its self, harm to the transporters and public.
“Other incidents which can happen, one; the material can be stolen, you know you can park somewhere to go for tea, you leave it un attended to, and by the time you come back, you find when it is stolen,” Mr Nimbashabira said.
Addressing the concern of one’s safety during radiation related treatments, Mr Nimbashabira explained that this kind of treatment has a variety of benefits, and minimal demelits.
He encouraged people with health problems which need radiation related diagnosis, to actually embrace it, stressing that the effects are largely positive, and life saving.
“The advantages of applying radiation in treatments outweigh the disadvantages, but still before one is exposed to radiation, that exposure must be justified. If it will keep you going for more years, then we will appy it on you,” he revealed.
Basing on his explanation, it is right to say, that the public has nothing to worry about, regarding radiation related treatments like X-ray scanning, only that they have to adopt a positive mental attitude. This is because nuclear treatments prolong life.
The trainees were also taught different measures to ensure safety, during transportation. These include proper packaging with recommended material, regular check-ups for contamination of any equipment used for transportation of radioactive material, which should be done before packaging.
Warning symbols and placards are other measures that are employed to ensure the safety of this transportation, such that when members of the public see a vehicle with such symbols, they exercise utmost caution.
“Normally when we are transporting these radioactive materials for safety concerns, we always put radiation symbols so when you see a vehicle carrying radioactive materials, there is a standard symbol we always put. It is important that you dont get close to it when you are not authorised,” said Mr. Nimbashabira.
He Urged various stakeholders like regulators, owners and authorised persons, plus the media to execute their roles effectively for the safety of everyone, due to the fact that these obligations are not identical.
Established in 2008, under the Atomic Energy Act, the Atomic Energy Council is charged with the responsibility of regulating peaceful applications of Ironising radiation in Uganda.
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