16 March 2018

Sudan: 'Dangerous Nuclear Radiation' in Port Sudan

Port Sudan — Sudan's Atomic Energy Commission and the Federal Safety Administration have acknowledged that there is 'dangerous nuclear radiation' at a dump store in Port Sudan's northern port.

The area has been cordoned-off and officials and staff have been cautioned not to approach the site.

An employee told Radio Dabanga that representatives of the Atomic Energy Commission arrived on Wednesday after being notified by the Sea Ports Corporation of a possible source of nuclear radiation in the dump store in the northern port.

He said the Commission later presented a report to the port administration confirming the existence of radiation.

No details have yet been released about the source, cause, or level of the risk. Radio Dabanga will continue to monitor the situation closely and report any updates as they become available.

Nuclear waste

In 2015, it was confirmed that China buried dozens of containers with toxic waste in the desert of Northern Sudan. The waste was most probably from nuclear plants in China.

The former director of the Sudan Atomic Energy Commission, Mohamed Siddig, said at the time that 60 containers have been brought to Sudan together with construction materials and machinery for the building of the Merowe Dam (Hamdab Dam) in the Northern part of Sudan. He did not mention the exact year of the import and the date the nuclear waste was disposed. China worked on the dam between 2004 and 2009.

During a conference held by the Sudanese Standards and Metrology Organisation (SSMO) in Khartoum in November 2015, he disclosed how the Sudanese authorities allowed the import of the waste 'without inspection'.

Cancer

A 2016 survey carried out by the Sudanese Ministry of Health in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed a growing number of cancer cases in the country.

The survey was conducted by taking samples from health centres and hospitals in Sudan between 2009 and 2013. According to the samples, 2,945 cases of prostate cancer were recorded in the survey period. 2,737 cases of leukaemia were recorded.

The Northern State has recorded the highest percentage in the country, followed by Khartoum and the River Nile states.

The rise of cancer cases in northern Sudan has been attributed to both the use of chemicals by gold diggers, and the alleged burying of nuclear waste in the region. El Gezira state in central Sudan also reported a rise in cancer cases, most probably resulting from the use of certain pesticides and the way the chemicals are stored and transported.

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