A virtual ceremony was held today to mark the official handing over of radiation detection instruments to the government from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
In Honiara, Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Collin Beck took delivery of the instruments and was witnessed by Miroslav Pinak, the Acting Director of the Division of Radiation Transport and Waste Safety from the International Atomic Energy Agency in Austria via zoom.
Pinak in his remarks expressed that he is pleased on behalf of the Agency to assist Solomon Islands. He stated that it is the Agency’s statute and moral obligation to support Solomon Islands.
In his response, Beck acknowledged and expressed deep gratitude to the IAEA on behalf of the government, in responding proactively to Solomon Island’s urgent request.
The IAEA donation was in response to Solomon Islands request after two missing radioactive Cs-137 density gauge at Gold Ridge Mines were discovered by the investigative team led by the Radiology team. The radiation instruments are in the form of one Radionuclide Identification Device and four (4) Personal Radiation Detector Polimaster.
Currently, the country is without a national framework that guides the arrangements and usage of radioactive materials despite the general consensus that radiation sealed sources and x-ray emitting apparatus are already used in Solomon Islands. Actors that use and utilize equipment that emit radiation includes hospitals in medicine and treatments, the agriculture industry, the manufacturing and the mining industries.
Subsequent to the official handing over, was a three hours technical training with the identified relevant stakeholders that utilize equipment’s that emit radiation.
Solomon Islands is currently not a member to the IAEA however is a state party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) since June 1981 and to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty (Rarotonga Treaty) since January 1989.