Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Radiation Protection Dept battling to find land to construct radiation facility

The Radiation Protection Department is battling to find a piece of land to construct a temporary radiation facility that the country needs disparately.

Since 2009, the department has been lobbing to find land where the facility could be constructed but to no avail as the department faces resistance from the public.

On the other hand, Steven Williams, the director of the department, says he is disappointed by how his department is being perceived by the public.

He is appealing to the members of the public to provide his department with a piece of land where they can construct a temporary radiation facility which the country needs disparately.

He explained that “since 2009, the department has been battling to find a piece of land to construct a temporary radiation facility but nothing has been forth coming as there is resistance from the public about the facility”.

Williams says they are willing to listen to those who are against the construction of the facility.
“The country needs such facility as soon as yesterday,” he stressed.

Williams said sometime around 2009 his department identified about three villages in the central district.

He said Pilikwe Village was the best area where the facility could be constructed but some residents, especially the youth, are resisting the project to take place.

“We have been busy engaging with the residents about the facility; even today as I speak to you, we are still engaging even though we have not yet reached an agreement,” he said. “It is true that we cannot engage forever and we have to find a solution.”

Williams is optimistic and says that they have not yet lost hope with the residents of Pilikwe because “we are still engaging with them and we will get a common ground”.

He maintained that Pilikwe is a good location where the facility can be build and that alone will put the village on the international map that will also add to the development of the village.
Williams said that once the facility is built, the villagers will be employed at the facility and that will improve the living standard of the residents.

He said a decision on where the storage facility will be built will be decided by December this year.

Meanwhile, in the previous kgotla meeting with government, the villagers were adamant that they do not want the facility to be built in their village because “it will be a health hazard to their lives as well as their livestock”.

Two years ago, 16 drums containing soil with radioactive mistrials near Mmamabule were stolen by unknown culprits.

Williams said 15 of those drums were found while one drum has still not been recovered.
He confirmed that the drums are currently stored in a locked shed within a fenced area, provided with a locked gate, and there is a security guard posted around the clock at the entrance of the fenced area.

Williams said Radiation Inspectors regularly check the area to ensure that safety and security requirements are complied with.

When asked about the protective clothings that are not provided to the security guards, he replied that “there isn’t any requirement for the security officers to be provided with the protective clothing as they would not receive any radiation exposure from the drums”.

He added that the drums are well secured and safe and do not pose any danger to the public and the environment.

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