Welcome to The Atomic Energy Board of Namibia
Inauguration of the Atomic Energy Board(2nd Term of Office)
Launching of the Atomic Energy and Radiation Protection Act
It is three years now i.e. February 2009; when I inaugurated the first Atomic Energy Board. I recall issuing two important directives to the Board: formulating policy advice on how nuclear technology can contribute meaningfully to nation building and to enable the institutional framework to ensure that the use of nuclear technology does not pose undue or unjustified health or any other risk to the Namibian people.
In this regard, I am pleased to report to the nation, that much progress has been achieved in regard to this directive.
Government recognizes the unique contribution of nuclear technology towards our developmental efforts, especially in the areas of public and animal health, food security, water resource management, energy and education.
Similarly, the policy advice formulated by the Board, which is reflected in the report, on issues relating to the development of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle are some of the inputs that will mark the outstanding contribution. Thus, I urge you to continue strengthen your strategic partnership closely with the line Ministry and ensure that the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Policy when approved is translated into viable and tangible results.
While appreciating the positive contribution made by the Board towards the development of the nuclear fuel cycle policy, I urge you to pay attention to activities beyond the Nuclear Fuel Cycle such as nuclear medicine, radiation therapy, radioisotope use in agriculture, water resources management and others.
I am pleased to note that the Permanent Secretary and his Team developed a vibrant technical cooperation programme in these areas in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The current projects focus on crop production, animal health, research in malaria and nutrition as well as teaching of nuclear techniques. Clearly in all these aspects the Board has an important role to play, empowered and competing in terms of nuclear technology, skills and capabilities. In all these, the nation stands to benefit, by being empowered.
I am also grateful that the Board has been instrumental in the finalization of the Regulations in support of the Atomic Energy and Radiation Protection Act. Indeed, I commend your efforts in complementing Government. Your contribution has made it possible for the full implementation of the Act and gazetted early this year.
With all these achievements, let us remain vigilant. Let us guard against the harmful effects associated with nuclear. The Fukushima accident which drew much attention around the world in terms of the safety, protection and security relating to the use of nuclear technology remains vivid in our minds. While we do not anticipate an accident of the same magnitude or scale in Namibia, we must remain alert in terms of effective controls and monitoring. We have a collective responsibility to bring development and technology to our people, but we must do so responsibly and subject ourselves and our facilities to strict regulatory systems and thereby protect our people and ensure sustainable use of the environment.
It is for this reason that we have the Atomic Energy & Radiation Protection Act in place and the Radiation Protection & Waste Disposals Regulations gazetted. The National Radiation Protection Authority, as regulatory body, has been established
and fully equipped with the legal instruments to fulfill its mandate.
With these remarks, I now have a singular honour and pleasure to declare the Atomic Energy and Radiation Protection Act and the Radiation Protection & Waste Disposal Regulations officially launched. I call upon all those who are involved in the industry, including my Ministry, to give full cooperation and support to the work of this Authority.
Indeed we have made progress, but there is still more to be done. We take note that both the legislative provisions, regulatory requirements and the framework under which the Regulatory Authority operates may require revision to bring it at par with current developments.
I particularly want to highlight:
- compliance of the activities of the Authority with international recommendations,
- issues relating to the effective independence of the Authority,
scope of regulation,
- regulation of sources of non‐ionizing radiation such as mobile phone base station,
- security of radioactive and nuclear material are but a few of the issues that still need the attention of the Board.
Given the excellent work that the Board demonstrated during the first term, we asked Cabinet to give you another mandate for a term of 3 years and attend to some of the outstanding issues illustrated above. This vibrant Team are yours truly:
- Dr. Wotan Swiegers (Chairperson of the Board);
- Mr Gerhard Theron (Ministry of Foreign Affairs);
- Dr. Shitaleni Chocky Herman (Ministry of Health and Social Services);
- Ms. Helen Itamba (Ministry of Mines and Energy);
- Mr. Iileni Shikwambi (Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare);
- Mr. Theo Nghitila (Ministry of Environment and Tourism);
- Ms Martha Hitenanye (Office of the President)
I wish to heartily congratulate you on your re‐appointment and wish you a fruitful term of office.
I thank you.
The Atomic Energy Board was constituted in February 2009 by the Hon Dr Richard Nchabi Kamwi, Minister of Health and Social Services by exercising the powers conferred by the Atomic Energy & Radiation Protection Act. The Board advices Government and key stakeholders on all matters pertaining to radiation sources and nuclear energy.
Statement by Hon Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Nchabi Kamwi, at the inauguration of the Atomic Energy Board, February 2009
We are gathered here, to witness the inauguration of Namibia’s first Atomic Energy Board. Following protracted consultation with stakeholders, the Ministry of Health and Social Services was entrusted to implement the Atomic Energy and Radiation Protection Act, Act No. 5 of 2005. The Act establishes the Atomic Energy Board, to advise Government on all matters pertaining to nuclear or atomic energy. Accordingly, the Minister responsible for the implementation of this Act, is entrusted to appoint the members of the Atomic Energy Board.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I had the privilege to appoint members of the Atomic Energy Board. I now have the honour, to introduce to you the newly appointed members:
- Dr. Wotan Swiegers Chairperson of the Board
- Ambassador, Mr. Martin Andjaba nominated by Hon. Minister -Foreign Affairs
- Dr. Chocky Shitaleni Herman nominated by Hon. Minister of Health and Social Services
- Ms. Helen Itamba nominated by Hon. Minister and Energy
- Mr. Lileni Shikwambi nominated by Hon. Minister of Labour and Social Welfare
- Mr. Theo Nghitila nominated by Hon. Minister of Environment and Tourism
Congratulations ! This is a very responsible job.
In conformity with the provisions of the Act, I gave directives to the Board, to consult broadly with all stakeholders to formulate a national policy on nuclear energy. We expect that the policy will clearly define Namibia’s aspiration with respect to nuclear energy, and how it can contribute to the developmental needs of our country. We would expect to be informed and guided on how we can utilize nuclear technology in various fields. For example;
The role of nuclear in the public health sector, such as cancer management, HIV/AIDS, Malaria, TB and Nutrition programmes; in the agriculture sector: addressing animal health, improving crop varieties and understanding of our water resources; The role of nuclear in the energy sector, such as nuclear energy for productions of electricity, or production of freshwater from seawater using nuclear energy. Secondary, in line with the Act, the new Board is mandated to formulate a policy and regulatory framework necessary to ensure that the use of nuclear related technology does not cause undue risk to employees, patients, the public, or the environment. Therefore, there must be a perfect balance that the benefit of nuclear technology is fully exploited, whilst ensuring that it is under a controlled and monitored framework. In addition, it will be expected of the Board to put in place mechanisms for awareness to the general public on the following:
The extent nuclear or radiation related application;
The risk of nuclear applications and its impact on our health;
The approaches on the protection of our nation and environment from the harmful effects of radiation;
Cooperation with other States and International Organizations and how we may fulfill our obligations under specific cooperative agreements.
To the Board, you have resources in place and at your disposal from the Ministry, to carry out your activities as mandated by the Act. I urge you to do your work without fear or pressure from any quarter. Finally, remain faithful to duty within the jurisdiction of your mandate. In support of your mandate, I directed the Permanent Secretary to avail all the necessary resources as per requirement of the Act, to ensure that the Board fulfils its mandate unhindered. Indeed, I encourage the office of the Permanent Secretary to expedite the establishment of the Secretary of the Board and the Regulatory Authority, which are both critical to the mandate of the Board. To those who are involved in the use of applications of nuclear technology, or whose activities may give rise to radiation exposure to the workers, patients, public, or the environment, you have a responsibility to ensure that your activities are conducted in a responsible and safe manner. I urge you to work together with the Board and the Authority, to ensure that all stakeholders are fully aware of the risks involved and the means for mitigating or minimizing the harmful consequences of radiation without compromising on the many potential benefits. To the members of the general public, be informed that we will do our best to ensure that the nation fully benefit from the advanced applications of nuclear technology. The Board is there to allay any fears associated with nuclear technology, and give you the confidence that nuclear technology in Namibia is used in a responsible and safe manner, and that your health is not unduly at risk.
I now have the honour to declare the Atomic Energy Board of Namibia officially commissioned.
I thank you.