Calls by residents of Pilikwe in the Central District on government not to erect a radiation facility in their village seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
The government has already applied for a piece of land where the facility is to be erected as soon as the application with the land board has been approved.
Already an application for piece of land has been tendered to Sefhare Sub-Land Board. The application is expected to be approved before the end of the year.
“An application for land on which the facility is to be constructed has been lodged with Sefhare Sub-Land Board and subsequently with Ngwato Land Board,” said Stephen D. Williams, the Director of the Radiation Department.
He added that the marked area is located approximately two kilometers south-west of Pilikwe Village.
Williams said construction is planned to start as soon as the land has been allocated and funds provided by the Botswana Government.
“It must be emphasized that this is not intended to be a nuclear waste disposal facility and Botswana does not have the capacity nor the technology to dispose of intermediate to high level radioactive waste,” said Williams, adding that the use of the facility will enhance nuclear security in Botswana.
“It is important that nuclear material or radioactive sources seized or confiscated as a consequence of unlawful or criminal acts must be taken to the facility so that immediate arrangements can be made to repatriate it to the country of origin,” he said, assuring the public that his department’s mandate is to protect people, animals and the environment from adverse effects of ionizing radiation at all cost.
“No action, facility or operation that compromises or has the potential to compromise radiation safety will be licensed in Botswana.”
┬áHowever, sometime back, during the consultation stages, residents of Pilikwe made it known to government that the nuclear facility was not welcome in their area.
The Botswana Defense Force also made their contribution in which the army said the facility might be a security threat as it is close to the South African border post.