Arusha — The government intends to build the country's first, fully fledged Radiochemistry Analysis Laboratories (RAL) at Themi Hills on the outskirts of Arusha City, close to the Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission (TAEC), to complement the fa cility.
The revelation was made here by the Minister for Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Professor Joyce Ndalichako, while visiting the TAEC institution in Njiro area over the weekend.
She said the state is investing 5.2 billion/- for the construction of the laboratory premises, the project which will be completed at the end of 2018.
On the other hand, the proposed RAL, will be equipped with various modern and technological paraphernalia valued at 104 billion/- being donated to Tanzania by the European Union, bringing to its worth to set up to nearly 110 billion/-.
"It is going to be a state of-the-art laboratory for Eastern and Central Africa to be installed with 'High-Purity Germanium Detectors' for testing foods contamination and environmental samples; making the only place this equipment can be accessed in this region, because such facilities so far exist in only Ghana and South Africa," said Mr Aloyce Amas, the nuclear research scientist at the TAEC.
Mr Amas pointed out that, with such facility in place, Tanzania through TAEC will be in a position to conduct radioactive tests from neighbouring countries, such as Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, Ethiopia and Malawi where such services are not available.
On his side, the Acting Director of Nuclear Technology, Mr Firmi Banzi, said the government was working to ensure that all regulatory authorities, such as the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), the Tanzania Foods and Drugs Authority (TFDA), and the TAEC, establish a one-stop testing centre to minimize cumbersome and bu reaucratic processes involved in such testing.
"Many people, institutions and business entities have complained of having to shift from one entity to another, some are located far from one another, or in different regions altogether, yet they want their samples of their food, drugs, cosmetics and medical equipment taken and tested very fast," he said.
Mr Banzi explained that radioactivity exists in almost all parts of the world, and not necessarily in places where explosions are experienced or related activities are seen, adding: "Therefore, it was imporing: "Therefore, it was imporing: "Therefore, it was impor tant to test contaminations in food, water, drugs and other intakes."