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Disused, Disposed: IAEA Supports Madagascar in Managing Disused Radioactive Sources

disused radioactive sources training Madagascar

On-site training in Madagascar. (Photo: IAEA).

Radioactive sources are used around the world, in medical clinics, industrial plants, research laboratories, farms and cropland. Radioactive sources are present in almost all countries in the world, and if properly managed, they confer countless benefits to society. However, any incomplete management of radioactive sources may expose the public, professionals or the environment to the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

The proper management of disused radioactive sources is a subject of the utmost importance to the IAEA, its Member States and its strategic partners. In cooperation with the European Commission, the IAEA is working to strengthen source management practices in Africa.

In October 2015, with the financial support of the European Commission, the IAEA conducted a mission in Madagascar to help national counterparts to implement the best strategies to manage Madagascar's inventory of disused radioactive sources. Different management options were provided, depending on the nature of the sources, which are categorised as high activity (categories 1-2) or lower activity (categories 3-5). The national inventory of sources was also updated, and the Malagasy government is now able to take appropriate source management decisions based on infrastructure, human resource availability and the volume of disused sources.

Also during the mission, an IAEA technical officer (TO) dismantled a disused brachytherapy device containing Cs-137 sources, which are used in radiation therapy to treat cancer patients. The device had been declared inoperative, and had been placed in a hospital room under poor safety conditions. The room was closed, personnel access was prohibited, and the room could not be used for any other purpose. The expert transferred the disused sources into an appropriate container, which was then removed from the hospital and transferred to a safe storage facility. The room containing the brachytherapy device is now free of disused radioactive material, and can be used for other purposes. The dismantling, collection and storage of the Cs-137 sources was used to provide a team of six local professionals with valuable hands-on training.




The project RAF/9/054  is carried out with funding by the European Union and the IAEA.


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