Strengthening Nuclear Law in Africa: Workshop on the Way Forward

Legal and regulatory experts from 20 African countries expanded their knowledge on international and national legal frameworks for the regulation of radiation sources in medicine, industry, research and other areas, at a workshop at the IAEA this week.

“The exchange of experiences has been very timely and valuable in understanding the legal aspects arising from the use of ionizing radiation as we develop new projects in implementing nuclear techniques,” said Vuyile Dlamini from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Swaziland.

Through the legislative assistance programme the IAEA supports its Member States in developing adequate legal frameworks for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear energy and ionizing radiation. It also aims to create awareness in Member States about the importance of adhering to the international legal instruments and assist then in complying with their international obligations. 

“Our country has already enacted a law on safety, security and safeguards,” said Hadjaro Senoussi of the Chadian Agency of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety. “The IAEA’s assistance was helpful to identify all the elements to be considered in a comprehensive nuclear law.”

The workshop helped get a broader understanding of international instruments in the nuclear field, said Faradally Ollite, CEO of the Radiation Protection Authority of Mauritius. “The relevance for Mauritius to adhere to those instruments has been clarified,” he said. “We now have a better understanding on how to transpose  these international instruments in our national legislative framework.”

The Regional Workshop on Nuclear Law for African Member States allowed the IAEA and representatives from African countries to assess the status of national legal frameworks, as well as to discuss and coordinate the activities to be implemented to support them in establishing, updating and improving national legislation governing the safe and secure uses of nuclear energy and ionizing radiation. It also allowed to identify steps towards gaining better understanding of the international legal instruments adopted under the auspices of the IAEA.

Participants included experts from Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Togo and Zimbabwe.

The training follows other regional workshops conducted for Member States in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia and the Pacific, as part of IAEA’s legislative assistance programme. 


Dumping of Radioactive Materials at Sea

Although the practice of dumping radioactive waste into the oceans disappeared in the early 1990s, materials containing minimal levels of radioactivity are still allowed and regulated. Rules for dumping this type of materials into the oceans have become stricter following the adoption of an IAEA methodology aimed at protecting not only humans, but also the marine environment.

In a meeting held from 12 to 16 October in London, representatives of 87 countries agreed to set more specific thresholds on materials for dumping at sea. The venue was the 37th annual gathering of countries which are parties to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, also known as the London Convention.