Experts call for regional efforts to stem nuclear security threats

Kenya Nuclear Regulatory Authority nuclear inspector Josephine Wakuyu with IAEA experts on November 24, 2023. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Experts have called for close cooperation between countries in Africa to prevent the likelihood of criminals using nuclear and radioactive material to cause harm.

Speaking at the end of regional training in Nairobi yesterday, the officials drawn from 12 countries warned against dangerous materials getting outside regulatory control.

The course, hosted by the Kenya Nuclear Regulatory Authority (KNRA), kicked off on Monday and sought to assist African nations with contemporary skills needed to strengthen their nuclear regulatory capacity.

Sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the forum focused on the security of radioactive materials in use and storage, with the objective of enhancing national programmes for regulating radioactive source security in respective countries.

“We see this as an opportunity to work together and to build on the gains as we seek to protect lives and the environment,” said KNRA Deputy Director for Inspection and Enforcement Isaac Mundia, who led a session on nuclear security regime for radioactive material.

Fatai Abiodun of the Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Authority called on the region to enhance public awareness around nuclear and to ensure regulators, security personnel and researchers work together in improving the nuclear security regime.

“So far so good. We are proud of the efforts made by IAEA and Kenya in hosting this course. It has come at the right time when there is renewed interest in nuclear. In Nigeria, we are working with neighbouring countries to ensure we get it right,” Mr Abiodun said.

Mr Mundia, KNRA regional heads and nuclear inspectors Erustus Chepkowny, Zephania Mukaka, Judith Okoth and Josephine Wakuyu were among the 29 officials from across the continent who attended the course.

Resource persons were drawn from IAEA, the US, Kenya and Nigeria.

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