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Government ready for atomic energy regulator launch

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By Richard Chirombo:

The government has signalled its readiness to tackle issues related to atomic energy, with Secretary for Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Patrick Matanda, saying all is set for the launch of Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (AERA) Wednesday.

His sentiments have been backed by a statement the ministry released on Monday, in which it indicates that AERA is ready to protect people and natural resources from the negative effects of radiation.

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“The Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining is pleased to inform the general public that the Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority will be launched on March 6 2019 at Bingu International Convention Center in Lilongwe,” Matanda says in the statement.

AERA was established through the Atomic Energy Act Number 16 of 2011 and is mandated to protect people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionising radiation.

Although the authority is being launched tomorrow, it started operations in 2018, during which time it has been responsible for controlling and regulating the importation, exportation, production, processing, handling, use, holding, storage, transportation and disposal of radiation sources and nuclear materials.

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It has also been responsible for controlling other radioactive materials in the industrial, agricultural and medical sectors.

“In light of the launch of the AERA, and in accordance with the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act, the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining is urging all institutions, organisations, companies or any person possessing or using any nuclear or radioactive material to notify AERA so that the material can be licensed for the protection of the users, the public and the environment from any harmful effects of ionising radiation,” Matanda says.

Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Minister, Aggrey Masi, will grace the occasion.

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