By Tafadzwa Muranganwa

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has applauded the work being done by government towards improving both the legislative and regulatory infrastructure for nuclear and radiation safety in the country.

The UN specialised agent said this in a statement on Tuesday.

“An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission found that Zimbabwe has made considerable improvements in its national legal and regulatory infrastructure for nuclear and radiation safety by drafting a new law that addresses the requirements of IAEA international safety standards.

“The team of experts said that enhanced efforts to develop education and training in radiation protection and safety will further build national capacities,” IAEA said.

HORIZONTAL

The mission was in the country at the behest of the Radiation Protection Authority of Zimbabwe (RPAZ) and ended its 6-day visit on Saturday.

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team reviewed progress in Zimbabwe’s implementation of recommendations and suggestions made during an initial IRRS mission in 2014.

In particular the Radiation Protection Amendment Bill impressed the mission.

“The team found that Zimbabwe has successfully implemented many recommended actions from the mission eight years ago, highlighting in particular the draft Radiation Protection Amendment Bill which is scheduled to be passed in 2023, and the draft National Nuclear and Radiological Emergency Plan that has been developed,” added IAEA.

HORIZONTAL

Apart from the proposed law, the team also applauded the ‘construction of a new radioactive waste management facility which is planned to be licensed at the end of 2022.

The Chief Executive Officer of RPAZ, Justice Chipuru assured that the country remains committed to adhere to the standards prescribed by the agency.

“Zimbabwe is committed to the continual improvement of the regulatory infrastructure and is grateful for the assistance granted by the Agency. The regulatory body has adopted a policy of periodic peer reviews at least once every five years going forward,” he said.

IAEA recommended that Zimbabwe continue its efforts to strengthen education and training in radiation protection and safety. Already RPAZ is holding a series of trainings for journalists from print, online and broadcast media to acquaint them on radiation protection and safety in the quest for a better reportage.

It also advocated a national policy and strategy for radiation safety and regulations for the transportation of radioactive material and for emergency preparedness and response.

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