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Botswana hosts regional IAEA meeting.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in partnership with Botswana through the Radiation Protection Inspectorate on August 13 hosted a week-long regional meeting on the organisation and implementation of the National Dose Registry (NDR).

In his welcome remarks, deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology Dr Kekgonne Baipoledi said the meeting aimed at supporting member states in the African region with establishment, implementation and maintenance of the NDR.

It also aimed to introduce relevant requirements and guidance in the IAEA Safety Standards or record keeping of occupational radiation exposure, exchange experiences and discuss the issues on NDR in the region as well as promote the use of available software for NDR.

Dr Baipoledi explained that 'NDR is a record keeping system that is used to manage, store, preserve and track occupational doses.'

Occupational doses, he explained, is the dose of ionising radiation received by a person at work, where assigned duties involve exposure to radiation and radioactive materials.

Dr Baipoledi said the ultimate goal of establishing NDR was to minimise the possibility of radiation workers receive at the workplace and also ensure that occupational dose records were maintained and remain retrievable in the long term.

Meanwhile, in his opening remarks, an IAEA expert Mr Jizeng Ma said the meeting was a planned activity under the IAEA Regional Technical Cooperation Project.

Mr Ma outlined the principal objective of the IAEA's Statute as accelerating and enlarging the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world.

The IAEA's Statute authorises the agency to establish safety standards to protect health and minimise danger to life and property, including providing assistance in the application of the Safety Standards in the member states, he said.

Currently, Mr Ma noted that the IAEA provides service on radiation safety to member states through seven Thematic Safety Areas which include Regulatory Infrastructure, Radiological Protection in Occupational Exposure, Radiological Protection in Medical Exposure, Public and Environmental Radiological Protection, Education and Training in Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety and Transport Safety.

Furthermore, he stated that Occupational Radiation Protection is one of the two most important milestones for the IAEA to make judgement on the technical cooperation of a country.

In December 2014, he said, the IAEA organised the second International Conference on Occupational Radiation Protection in Vienna, co-sponsored by the International Labour Organisation and held in cooperation with 16 international organisations.

He said nine key areas were identified in the Occupational Radiation Protection Call for Action as the output of the conference. 'The implementation of the existing safety standards to enhance protection of workers is the first action,' he said.

In response to the call for action, under the Regional Project on Occupational Radiation Protection of the IAEA Technical Cooperation programme, about 10 regional events were conducted in the region in the past three years, including training courses, workshops and a regional inter-comparison exercise on individual monitoring, he added.

Just two months ago, the IAEA organised a Regional Meeting on Quality Management Systems in Morocco.

Mr Ma told delegates that the cooperation with the International Labour Organisation in the field of occupational radiation protection is strategically crucial for the IAEA.

So far, he added that four national or regional workshops on occupational radiation protection have been jointly organised by the IAEA and the ILO. NDR is not only important for regulatory authorities, but also important for employers, workers and different stakeholders for occupational radiation protection.

Mr Ma said the regional meeting provides a platform to share experiences and to discuss the issues on national dose registry of the member states in the region as well as promote the use of the available software for national dose registry.

This meeting, which is attended by 35 delegates from the IAEA and 21 African countries, started in Gaborone on August 13 and ends Friday.
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Publication:Botswana Daily News (Gaborone, Botswana)
Geographic Code:6BOTS
Date:Aug 14, 2018
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