Harare, 2 June 2022 (TDI): Zimbabwe has been making effective progress in meeting the standards for radiation infrastructure.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission has discovered that Zimbabwe has achieved significant progress in its national legal and regulatory infrastructure for nuclear and radiation safety.
— IAEA – International Atomic Energy Agency (@iaeaorg) June 1, 2022
Efforts by Zimbabwe to meet the standards
Zimbabwe’s success could not happen without drafting a new law that meets the necessary demands of the IAEA international safety standards.
The team of experts said that the improved efforts to develop education and training will also build the nation’s capabilities.
Initially, in 2014, during the first IRRS mission in Zimbabwe, the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) examined the improvements made in Zimbabwe’s implementation of recommendations and suggestions.
Significantly, this mission was in response to the request made by the government of Zimbabwe and hosted by the Radiation Protection Authority of Zimbabwe (RPAZ).
IRRS missions aim to strengthen the effectiveness of the national nuclear and radiation infrastructure, based on IAEA safety standards and global good practices.
Thus, with guidance from IRRS, Zimbabwe had successfully implemented many actions advised by the mission eight years prior.
The draft of the Radiation Protection Amendment Bill and the draft of the National Nuclear and Radiological Emergency Plan are set to be passed in 2023.
IRRS Team in Zimbabwe
The mission assessed the regulatory framework for all facilities and activities using radiation in Zimbabwe. Also, the team examined Zimbabwe’s radiation sources in medical and industrial applications.
Moreover, it’s worth noting that Zimbabwe is the only country after Cameroon that has called on the IRRS mission. To be specific, the IRRS team consisted of six senior regulatory experts.
These experts are from Kenya, South Africa, Sweden, Qatar, and the United States. Additionally, two other IAEA staff members also joined the mission. The team carried out a series of interviews and discussions with RPAZ and examined the reference material.
Furthermore, Zimbabwe has taken other steps in addition to the new draft law and plan. These steps include:
- Ratification of global instruments related to nuclear safety and radiological protection.
- Reorganizing RPAZ to make sure there is an effective separation between regulatory functions and the provision of technical services.
- Developing RPAZ guidance documents on the core functions of the regulatory body.
- The building of a new radioactive waste management facility which is to be licensed at the end of 2022.
Therefore, the review team lauded the efforts made by the Zimbabwean government. Meanwhile, the team gave more recommendations. These include：
- Building a national policy and strategy for radiation safety.
- Regulations for the transport communication of radioactive material and for emergencies and responses.
- Working together with other national authorities involved in the transportation of radioactive materials.