THE Atomic Energy Council to regulate and ensure the safety of Ugandans when the country starts mining uranium has been launched in Kampala.
â€œDespite the positive contribution, it is well known that exposure to high level of ionising radiation can be fatal or cause permanent damage to human life and the environment,â€ said state minister for mineral development Peter Lokeris at the launch of the council.
Lokeris said the mandate of the council is to regulate peaceful applications of ionising radiation.
He also urged the council to develop the regulations required to operationalise the Atomic Energy Act.
The minister dispelled fear that the country could at one point misuse the substance.
A request by Mulago Hospital for technical support from the International Atomic Energy Agency to acquire a new machine for cancer treatment was rejected because the country lacked a competent body to issue authorisation.
â€œI urge you to urgently look into Mulagoâ€™s application,â€ Lokeris implored.
The five-member council comprises Akisophel Kisolo as chairman. He has been a lecture of nuclear and radiation physics at Makerere University for 20 years.
The others are Rosemary Nsaba Byanyima, a consultant radiologist at Mulago Hospital, Maxiwell Otim, the deputy executive secretary for the National Institute of Science and Technology and a specialist in biomedical science and Kirya Kabanda, an engineer in the water sector.
Energy permanent secretary Kabagambe Kalisa said in the short term, the council would receive an induction training programme on radiation protection and safety facilitated by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
A team from the US nuclear science administration is expected here on August 24 to work with the council on creating storage facilities for nuclear waste.
Atomic energy is got from clean and controlled uranium. However, much as Uganda has discovered the mineral, the amount and quality is not yet known.
Atomic energy can be used in diagnosis of diseases, treatment of cancer, control of vectors, tests in industrial and construction and petroleum exploration.
Atomic energy council formed