Tuesday, January 16, 2018

T&T to boost radiation control measures

Trinidad and Tobago will soon undertake the establishment of a National Registry of Radiation Sources, legislation, regulatory information and adequate web training to facilitate the control of radiation and radiation sources.

Medical physicist Vladimir Henderson-Suite made this revelation during the launch of a five-day regional training radiation workshop hosted by the National Physicist Radiotherapy Centre in conjunction with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), at the Old Fire Station Building, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain.

Joining Henderson-Suite at the January 23-27 workshop, were IAEA Programme Management Officer with responsibility for Trinidad and Tobago, Eva Ciurama-Casademont and Austria-based Ibrahim Abd Elrahim Shaddad of the Department of Nuclear Safety, who shared their radiation best practices with Caribbean practitioners. Need for national inventories Radiation, both natural and manmade, can be found in food, water and construction materials (asbestos).

 “In setting out to meet its mandate, Regulatory Authority Information System (RISE) has been able to assist new member states via its technical cooperation programme,” Henderson-Suite said.

“RISE is like a data base system. We can input information and track it. New member states like Trinidad and Tobago were invited to set up national inventories. Member states are now being introduced to software and the regulatory information system offers members a simple and common approach based on legislative and regulatory framework. 

“RISE will focus on upgrading online. Four experts will focus on the development of national source registries and how it can make the regulatory process easier.”

He added that once you have it up, it is about how do you manage it and put things in there so you don't have issues with regard to waste and general safety of the public.

“Radiation can cause cancer in extreme cases. There are instances where sources have been lost; especially in Eastern Europe. Only after you find out and if something goes missing then we can quickly trace where it has gone or if it is in a back room somewhere.  It gives us an easier idea. Information written in a book can get lost or misplaced. If you have it electronically the chances of it being misplaced are a lot less.”   Countries to prepare action plan Ciurama-Casademont said her focus was on “strengthening cradle to grave and control of radiation sources and establishing a national register of radiation sources.” 

“Most of you (countries) have developed a national programme and a large regional programme. The member states can benefit from regional projects for networking and experience sharing. They can share some myths that can be addressed on the regional programme. 

“Technical co-operation programmes offer many opportunities. We can help by sending experts to countries and advising in specific issues and delivering national training programmes. At the end, there will be an action plan.”

Shaddad called upon governments to make provision to retrieve adequate records using additional resources.

“Inventories will help the country to have a full control system. You need to know what you have inside the country and it should be commensurate. You can use RISE for maintaining your register of sources, developing a great update and to effectively control additional sources and to ensure the safety of workers and the environment,” he said.  

The workshop, which was intended to encourage participation among new member states like Jamaica and Belize, came on the heel of one held last September in the Bahamas.