Antigua and Barbuda has taken on the challenge of establishing a regulatory framework for radiation safety and the security of radioactive materials.
This decision follows a visit by a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
As a member of the IAEA since 2015, Antigua and Barbuda is responsible for establishing a legal infrastructure to oversee the handling of radiation equipment and the safe disposal of radioactive waste.
The IAEA team, headed by Margaret Cervera, conducted an advisory mission to assess the existing legislation and identify the steps required to align it with the IAEA’s requirements.
During the mission, the team held in-depth discussions with representatives from various government agencies, including the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force, the Customs Division, the Ministry of Health, and the A&B Transport Board.
The team also visited sites where radiation materials are already in use, including the Cancer Centre Eastern Caribbean, where the government is in talks to acquire and resume operations at the facility.
The Ministry of Legal Affairs team, responsible for drafting new legislation on the matter, also had discussions with the IAEA team.
One recommendation is to establish a regulatory board that will function as a unit within the Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards.
Cervera outlined that after discussions and interactions with government representatives, the IAEA team came up with a series of recommendations and an action plan for implementation by the Antigua and Barbuda government.
Antigua and Barbuda will have to fill in target dates on the action plan for the implementation of the recommendations.
However, Cervera highlighted that the implementation process will take some time before it is fully executed, and the government is responsible for deciding when it hopes to achieve the set goals.
Dianne Lalla Rodrigues, the Head of the Bureau of Standards, confirmed that the country intends to have the recommendations fully implemented within three years.