A Turkish company has expressed interest in investing in nuclear energy to enable Tanzania have access to the technology.
Atomtek Nuclear Energy Company has agreed to work with the government in radiation safety, management and monitoring at airports, ports and within the country. It is also keen to help in protecting people from the hazards of nuclear energy.
Addressing journalists in Arusha at the weekend, the Atomtek Nuclear Energy Public Relations Officer Yusuph Mjema said the project will begin next July and will cost USD90million.
He explained that the project will help the country monitor imported goods for radioactive contamination.
The president of Atomtek Nuclear Energy, Ibrahim Kuzu said the company provides professional consultancy in radiation security and nuclear security, in line with regulations and legislations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he said.
“Tanzania is among African countries with good systems which allow us to invest. Therefore the project is going to be implemented by the government through the TAEC and Science students at the Nelson Mandela University and will combine both business as well as education,” he said.
According to him, whether a state creates a framework for nuclear legislation or revises the existing framework, the first step should be assessment of current and expected programs as well as plans involving the use of nuclear technology and materials.
A physicist with the Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission (TAEC), Denis Mwalongo, said it has two X-ray laboratories which can make calculations used to verify the required level of radiation in the goods.
“Our work is to measure the level of radiation used for medical treatment, food preservation and at workplaces,” he said.
“We have been using equipment located at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) for cancer treatment to measure radiation levels. The equipment helps because insufficient radiation cannot cure cancer.”
He said the TAEC also measures of radiations at workplaces to ensure workers, especially those engaged in road construction and mining are safe.
For his part, the TAEC Nuclear Scientific Research Officer, Shovi Sawe, said his office mostly deals with checking samples for radiation.
It tests samples from the environment such as dust, water, and food, he said.
Meanwhile the government has called for the support of the private sector in nuclear technology development.
Prof Evelyne Mbede who is the Director of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology said the participation of private companies will contribute to the development of nuclear technology while the Atomic Energy Commission continues to work on regulatory rules.
In a meeting with workers of the Turkish firm Atomtek Nuclear Energy Inc, she said: “We are now implementing the Nuclear Atomic Policy, and we plan to amend the law in order to clarify the commission’s duties…the aim is to ensure people’s safety from nuclear radiation at workplaces” she said.
She said the government intends to strengthen the Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission by giving it mandate to control the use of atomic and all atomic related activities especially at this time when there is more activity in the sector.
Mbede said the government is facing shortage of experts to monitor imports and exports for radiation.