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28.02.2008 General News

Radiation Monitor For KIA

28.02.2008 LISTEN
By Daily Guide

The Kotoka International Airport (KIA) will soon be fitted with radiation monitors to detect radioactive materials entering the country through the airport.

The hint was dropped by Mr. Emmanuel Doku, the Commissioner, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) in Accra on Tuesday at the CEPS headquarters.

He added that a survey has already been undertaken to that effect.

He was speaking during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between CEPS and the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) on managing radioactive substances entering the country through the entry points.

As a country grows, there is the need for it to define the roles of its various agencies in relation to such issues as the handling of radioactive materials to avoid potential dangers.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that radioactive materials, if not handled properly, can be hazardous and dangerous to world peace as rebels and terrorists may use it to harm the world.

Ghana is moving in the right direction with the signing of the MOU,” he said.

Earlier, the Director General of the GAEC, Prof Edward Akaho, in a speech before the signing of the MOU and the presentation of thirty radiation monitors to CEPS, had underscored the importance of understanding the threats that could be posed by radioactive materials.

Since the events of September 11 in the United States, the threat of radioactive materials falling into the hands of terrorists has become even more important to the world.

A collaboration between GAEC and CEPS is necessary to enhance the monitoring of the movement of radioactive materials, he said.

The Prof expressed gratitude the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEC) for providing the monitors which would be used by CEPS at the country's ports to detect radioactive substances.

GAEC, he went on, has been collaborating with agencies like the Police, NADMO, National Security apparatus and the Ghana National Fire Service in fighting the use of radioactive materials for terrorist purposes.

The rationale behind the MOU is to forestall untoward incidents resulting from coming into contact with radioactive substances.

Contact with such materials can result in death or the contracting of serious diseases like cancer.

The purpose of the MOU is to state the roles and tasks of the Radiation Protection Board of the GAEC and CEPS in relation to the import and export of radiation sources and to establish clear working guidelines on the actions to be taken by the respective parties.

CEPS, by the terms of the MOU, would not permit the export of any radioactive materials unless the consignor can produce an authorization from the Radiation Protection Board.

A number of CEPS staff and others have undergone foreign courses on radiation under the auspices of the IAEA.

By A.R. Gomda

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