Representatives of MC5.01/15B’s project countries and SADC’s Nuclear Regulators Network agree a plan of action for continuation of collaborative activities

The two-day joint meeting of SADC’s Nuclear Regulators Network and the Steering Committee of the EU-funded, ISTC’s-implemented project MC5.01/15B completed on a high note in Malawi on 11 October, when the forty plus participants adopted common decisions about the activities they will implement as a continuation of the project during the next 12 months.

The project participating countries, namely Zambia and Malawi, expressed their readiness to organize a round of trainings on the running of the Information Tracking System (ITS) to hone the skills of their national experts in operating the system for monitoring and reporting the movement of radioactive materials within national borders. Representatives from neighboring SADC-member countries, will be joining some of the trainings. For example, Zambian and Zimbabwean experts are planning to be trained together by Software Company in Livingstone in December. Other trainings that will enlarge the group of skilled experts, able to operate the ITS, is in the pipeline. It will be likely hosted by the respective institutions in Madagascar or Mozambique, thus providing a room for expanding the ITS to more Southern African countries willing to receive the necessary equipment to operate the system. As part of the project’s continuation, ISTC and Software company will ensure to deliver the equipment to the countries that are interested to join the ITS.

A table top and field exercise that provides insights into the ways and means to address the challenges to the information management in the nuclear field will be prepared by the project’s partner from Finland. The representatives from the CBRN Suomi Association, Societal Security Solutions Ltd. and Environics, who were hosts to a study visit to Finnish nuclear installations and institutions in June 2019, are offering to prepare a scenario for the table top and field exercises that represents best the needs and concerns of the Southern African countries. The partners from Finland are ready to share the lessons from a multi-country field exercise and real-time simulation in seizing a radioactive source during transportation that was conducted among Baltic countries; it is since then referred as a best EU practice.

At least three awareness raising events have been discussed as a collective effort to spread the word about the project’s activities and its potential to assist SADC member countries to work together on harmonizing safety and safeguards provisions, regulations and process in the nuclear field and in particular in the transportation of Uranium Ore and other radioactive materials. These events will be tailored to various target groups, and in different venues, namely: representatives of SADC’s Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana; civil society actors and advocates from European NGOs in Vienna, Austria; members of AFCONE – the African Commission on Nuclear Energy, who will gather for a meeting in Pretoria, South Africa.

Within the joint meeting of the sixth Steering Committee of project MC5.01/15B and the SADC Nuclear Regulator’s network, the representatives of the Southern African countries hold a closed session to coordinate their approach to regional political institutions. For the first time since the start of the project and its efforts to engage SADC member countries, a reprehensive of the Comoros has joined the deliberations. Comoros is now the tenth country, together with Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Angola, Seychelles, South Africa, Botswana, and DRC that has joined the original four project countries – Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Namibia – to share information about national and regional needs in addressing the challenges of nuclear safety and safeguards across countries in the southern part of Africa.