Zim takes step towards nuclear energy use

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Harare (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe on Tuesday took another step towards enhanced use of nuclear energy after Cabinet approved the ratification of two key International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Conventions, which cover the protection and safety of nuclear material and facilities.

The agreements, which were presented to Cabinet by Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, are amendments to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the Convention on Nuclear Safety.

In a post Cabinet briefing, acting Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Jenfan Muswere said the Convention on Nuclear Safety seeks to achieve high level nuclear safety across the world through enhanced national measures and international co-operation.

The convention also seeks to establish and maintain effective defences in nuclear installations against potential radiological hazards.

“Ratification also presents an important opportunity for Zimbabwe to adopt and adhere to international standards of safety in relation to nuclear energy facilities as well as to benefit from the practical experience of the other Contracting Parties,” he said.

Last year, Zimbabwe signed a cooperation deal with Russian nuclear technology firm, Rosatom which created the basis for the two sides to explore various civilian areas to co-operate in the use of nuclear energy and materials including in medicine, agriculture and industry.

Meanwhile, Muswere said the amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material sought to expand the scope of the Convention to cover the physical protection of nuclear facilities and materials used for peaceful purposes.

He said the amendment criminalises offences related to the smuggling and sabotage of nuclear facilities and materials and also provided for strengthened international co-operation.

“Accession of Zimbabwe to the amendment will, therefore, demonstrate Zimbabwe’s commitment to the achievement and maintenance of worldwide effective physical protection of nuclear facilities materials for peaceful purposes.

“The accession will also enable the country to improve its protection of public health and safety, the environment, and national and international peace and security. Furthermore, accession will provide a sound foundation for the regulatory and legislative framework for effective physical protection of nuclear facilities and materials.”

Zimbabwe has discovered uranium deposits in the Hwange and Binga districts with exploration to determine the extent still in progress.

The southern African country has also intimated its desire to explore uranium as an alternative source of power to plug the perennial energy deficit that grapples with.
New Ziana

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