Arusha — The first phase of a new laboratory complex for the Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission (Taec) is nearing completion.
The one-storey-building, which will have three bunkers will be equipped with €4 million worth of equipment from the European Union (EU).
"Up to 70 to 80 per cent of the civil works are ready," said Firmin Banzi, the director of Nuclear Technology at the Arusha-based institution. He told the visiting nuclear technology experts from around Africa that the new lab complex would be the most modern within the East African region.
"All the instruments testing would be conducted here," he said, adding that the existing lab at the main administrative building was already serving clients from Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and Zambia.
According to him, construction of the second phase of the four storey lab complex will commence in one to two years' time.
"Tanzania government will meet 100 per cent of the construction costs estimated at 7 million Euros," he said, adding that the EU would support training of experts and other technicians to run it.
Dr Banzi said upon completion, all radiology equipment testing and maintenance will be shifted from Taec's main administrative bloc at Njiro to the new facility, a few metres away.
The new lab is also located close to the central radioactive waste management, a highly reinforced store room out of bound for the public.
Taec Head of Research and Development Abel Nitwa said Tanzania is set to comply with the internationally agreed legal and security frameworks on uranium mining and handling of radioactive materials.
"To effectively implement best practice principles in uranium industry, the competent regulatory authority must have adequate capabilities, equipment and competent staffs for verifications of compliances," he said.
Huge deposits of uranium have been discovered along the Mkuju river valley in Ruvuma region and Bahi district in Dodoma but mining has not commenced.