South Africa’s Nuclear Facility to Return to full Production of Medical Isotopes.

  • Speaking at the 63RD session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference in Vienna this week, South African Ambassador Rapulane Molekane assured delegates that South Africa’s Nuclear Technology Product (NTP) will soon return to full production of medical isotopes.
  • The Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA) has been dogged by allegations of corruption and mismanagement.
  • In the past year, South Africa’s nuclear facility has been shut down by the country’s auditor general due to safety concerns. Read more

Ambassador Molekane assured South Africa’s global customers that they can rest assured that South Africa remains committed to providing high quality service and a sustainable supply of these life-saving medicines.

“In order to further strengthen global supply of radioisotopes, through research using nuclear technology, our Government has established a Task Team for a new Multi-Purpose Reactor project aimed to replace the aging SAFARI-1 research reactor by 2030’, he added.

The Ambassador confirmed that the country continues to register progress in other applications of nuclear technology, in a manner that enhances close collaboration with fellow African countries. “For instance, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases has completed building the first African mosquito vector mass rearing facility. We are pleased to report that our joint Malaria Sterile Insect Technique project has completed the pilot mass rearing facility which will be officially opened in November 2019, with a small-scale pilot release programme scheduled for 2020”, he said

Assurances on safety and waste disposal concerns

“South Africa has an excellent track record for safely operating its nuclear facilities for more than fifty years. The country has demonstrated its ability for long-term, safe operation. We continue to adopt international best practices and are looking forward to the visit of the expert mission to review our National Nuclear Regulator Safety Culture Improvement Plan later this year. South Africa welcomes initiatives undertaken by the IAEA in promoting the wider adherence to the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.

Our National Radioactive Waste Disposal Institute is forging ahead to establish a Centralised Interim Storage Facility for the long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel. A Borehole Disposal Concept has been developed under contract with the Agency to provide safe and secure disposal technology for Disused Sealed Radioactive Sources inventories”, said Molekane.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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