The National , Wednesday, June 1, 2011
THE Mineral Resources Authority, the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management and the Pacific Adventist University (PAU) have started discussions on a proposal to set up a radiation monitoring facility at the university.
When established, the facility will gather baseline data on ambient levels of background radiation in attempts to monitor possible fallout from man-made and natural sources of radiation.
On Monday, Mining Minister John Pundari presented a cheque for K61,720 to the university to begin initial work on the establishment of the radiation monitoring facility.
Pundari acknowledged that mining operations in the country used radiation sources in the industry and that as a regulator for the mining industry, it was incumbent on the government to support institutions such as the PAU in their efforts to provide a valuable service both as a community service obligation in terms of warning communities of exposure to the harmful effects of radiation or as a commercial service in terms of supporting the end-users of such radiation equipment.
PAU’s dean of the school of science and technology Prof Rodger Jones said the idea and the realisation of the need to set up such a facility came about as a result of the unfortunate and tragic incident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan where there had been radiation contamination of the surrounding environment that put lives and property at risk.
He said the facility would provide research capacity in the field of radioactivity and permit the measurement of radioactive contamination from any sources, including food stuff, mining and industrial sectors.