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TANZANIA: EU builds atomic lab in Arusha for EAC???

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Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training Prof Joyce Ndalichako

ARUSHA (THE CITIZEN) – A huge laboratory complex for testing and maintenance of radiology equipment and instruments being constructed here will serve the East African region and beyond.

“This will be a unique and most modern laboratory of its kind in the continent”, said the director general of the Tanzanian Atomic Energy Commission (Taec) Prof. Lazaro S.P. Busagara.

Briefing the minister for Education, Science and Technology Joyce Ndalichako who visited the facility last week, the Commission’s head said the lab would offer services to the neighbouring countries and elsewhere in Africa.

The facility would enable the country comply with internationally agreed legal and security requirements on nuclear energy equipment and tools currently in use in different sectors.

Its construction, costing billions of shillings, has come on the heels of plans to mine uranium – a radioactive mineral – recently discovered along the Mkuju river basin in Ruvuma region.

The first phase of the complex, which is adjacent to the Taec headquarters at Njiro on the outskirts of Arusha, will be completed end of next month.

The one storey building, which will have three bunkers, will be equipped with 4 million Euros worth of equipment from the European Union (EU).

Construction of the second phase, for which the government has just promised to disburse funds, will commence in one to two year’s time. The lab building will have four storeys.

Upon completion all radiology equipment testing and maintenance will be shifted to the new site from the adjacent Taec’s main administrative bloc and from another site in Arusha.

During her visit, Prof. Ndalichako promised that the government will disburse Sh. 13.6 billion for the construction of the second phase of the new laboratory complex.

“We will ensure it is fully completed”, she affirmed, noting that Tanzania will meet 100 per cent of the costs while the EU would support training of experts and technicians to run it.

Prof. Busagara said training has commenced for the staff members who are expected to work in the new facility which would also be open to the researchers and students from higher learning institutions.

“The courses are organized in batches of 20 experts within our institution”, he said, adding the move has been undertaken in anticipation of the shortage of qualified staff.

The Arusha-based Taec was established in the 1980s to spearhead the country’s efforts to embrace atomic energy, has a shortfall of 103 professionals and technicians.

The government has pledged to work on the human resources gap at the Commission.

Recently, the commission embarked on comprehensive review of legal framework on handling of radioactive material which would lead to amendments of laws which established it.

This would make the state-run institution competent enough in putting in place place internationally accepted best practices for the nuclear energy industry. —— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: May 13, 2018 at 11:28AM

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