‘Peaceful nuclear energy’

‘Peaceful nuclear energy’

Staff Reporter

MASERU – TOURISM Minister Likeleli Tampane on Monday presented to Parliament a Bill that will seek to provide for the beneficial and peaceful use of nuclear energy in Lesotho.

The Radiation Protection Agency Bill of 2016 will also seek to provide protection to people and the environment against the harmful effects of radiation.

The Bill will also seek to regulate the peaceful use of nuclear materials and radioactive substances for health and agriculture for the safety of people and the environment.

Lesotho’s research and educational facilities cannot operate without delving into the areas of nuclear technology and ionising radiation and their effects, the Bill reads.

“The Bill, once enacted, will bind the government,” it reads.

The Bill applies to all activities and practices involving the peaceful use of ionising and non-ionising radioactive material in the jurisdiction and control of the country, management or any other activity or practice identified by the agency.

The Bill will empower the Tourism Minister to define exposures excluded from the application of the Act, at the advice of the agency.

The agency’s board will comprise the Tourism Ministry’s principal secretary as the chairman, the Chief Executive Officer and the secretary of the board and four other members.

It provides for staffing and secondment of public officers to the agency.

A person who intends to carry out any activity or practice involving ionising radiation will have to apply for a licence from the agency under this Bill, when enacted into law.

“The licensee shall not transfer the licence, and he has the primary responsibility for the safe and secure conduct of the activities or practices and shall put in place appropriate measures, including financial measures, to handle and dispose of radioactive waste,” the Bill reads.

“The licence must also ensure the protection of his employees and the members of the public from harmful effects of radiation,” it reads.

The Bill empowers the agency to adopt rules for protection of persons and the environment from harmful effects arising from exposure to radiation.

“The agency shall adopt dose limits aimed at minimising exposure of persons from radiation,” it reads.

It also says a licensee who has lost control of a radioactive source shall report the loss or any other incident that could pose a significant risk to the safety or security of persons and the environment.

The Bill imposes an obligation on a licensee for the physical protection of nuclear material or radioactive material in his possession, and requires that the licensee notify the agency where there has been theft or loss of such materials in his charge.

It prohibits a person from manufacturing, controlling or acquiring a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device.

The Bill bans the importation of radioactive waste.

The Bill establishes the Nuclear Protection Tribunal, which shall consist of three people.

It repeals sections 33, 49 and 50 of the Environment Act of 2008 which deals with radioactive materials and radiation sources.

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