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  • A Bill seeking to create a legal framework for the regulation of activities, practices, apparatuses and facilities involving ionizing radiation and nuclear technology was passed by the Senate on July 17.
  • The Bill entitled, the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act, 2015, was piloted by Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding.
  • The objectives of the Bill are to protect people and the environment from exposure to ionizing radiation to the maximum extent that is reasonably practicable.

A Bill seeking to create a legal framework for the regulation of activities, practices, apparatuses and facilities involving ionizing radiation and nuclear technology was passed by the Senate on July 17.

The Bill entitled, the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act, 2015, was piloted by Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding.

The objectives of the Bill are to protect people and the environment from exposure to ionizing radiation to the maximum extent that is reasonably practicable, taking into account social and economic factors, and recognizing the need for the use of ionizing radiation for beneficial purposes; and to protect radioactive sources from misuse that may result in harm to people or the environment.

Other objectives are:  to promote radiation protection principles and an effective nuclear safety culture; to provide compensation for damage, loss and injuries caused by ionizing radiation; to allow for the beneficial and peaceful uses of nuclear technology; and to facilitate Jamaica’s compliance with international obligations arising under the Conventions.

Senator Golding said that exposure to high levels of ionising radiation can have deleterious effects on people, property and the environment, therefore all activities relating to radioactive material, nuclear material, and ionising radiation apparatus must be made subject to standards of safety and security.

“This Bill seeks to create a robust framework for the regulation of activities, practices, apparatus and facilities involving ionising radiation and nuclear technology, in keeping with international standards and best practices,” the Minister explained.

He further noted that the need for the legislation has become urgent as nuclear materials are governed by an international legal framework and the country must become compliant with the framework, “in order to be allowed continued access to the nuclear material that we need in our medical facilities, especially in the radiology and oncology fields, and for the small research nuclear reactor at the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies.”

The Bill, which was approved by the House recently, also prohibits: building, importing, exporting or operating a research reactor; acquiring or developing nuclear explosives;  developing, producing, otherwise acquiring, stockpiling or retaining  radio-active material or nuclear material for the purpose of producing a weapon, and disposing of the said materials except in accordance with the authorization granted.