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TT now member of IAEA — Khan

Friday, July 13 2012

Trinidad and Tobago is now a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan disclosed this yesterday during the post-Cabinet briefing at the Coco Reef Resort and Spa in Tobago. At the ministry’s request, the IAEA assistance mission visited Trinidad between January 23 — January 27 with its specific terms of reference being to assess 20 percent of 233 patients, who were exposed to radiation over an 18-month period in 2009, during treatment at the Brian Lara Cancer Treatment Centre (BLCTC).

The Agency conducted a formal accident report to determine the consequences, or potential consequences from the point of view of protection or safety; from any unintended event, including operating errors, equipment failures and other mishaps.

Khan said as a member of the Agency, the country will have radiological protection of patients during medical exposures.

“It will strengthen the national infrastructure and regulatory framework for safe management of radioactive waste in Latin American Caribbean member countries. It will also strengthen the national system so preparedness and response to nuclear and radiological emergencies. It will support radiation protection infrastructure through education and training,” he said.

He said last year Cabinet passed the Ionising Radiation Regulations (IRR) which were sent to Attorney General Anand Ramlogan for drafting. He said the draft will be attached to the Occupational, Health and Safety Act for protection of workers.

“We have come a long way and now we are able to have membership with the IAA, I think the radiation protection and radiation action in this country will take a different direction,” he said.

Khan said the cost of membership for the year will be $1.5 million. He explained membership is usually $1 million and that the additional $500,000 would go to a fund which would allow developing countries like TT to tap into more resources of the IAA.

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