Cameroon: Environmental Protection - Minister Defends Nuclear Safety Bill

The bill pursues the protection of people, property and the environment against hazards from radiological and nuclear materials.

The Minister of Scientific Research and Innovation, Madeleine Tchuinte, on June 21, 2019 before the Committee on Production and Trade of the National Assembly defended bill No 1053/PJL/AN to lay down the general framework for radiological and nuclear safety, nuclear security, civil liability and safeguards enforcement for the environment. Deliberations on the bill before Committee members took place in the presence of the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Relations with Assemblies, Bolvine Wakata. The bill comprising 12 chapters and 120 sections, the Minister said, aims at remedying the shortcomings of Law No 95/8 of January 30, 1995 on radiation protection which does not include the fundamental aspects of radiological and nuclear safety, nuclear security and the implementation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards Agreement. The purpose, Minister Madeleine Tchuinte stated is to govern activities and practices relating to the use of radioactive materials and devices emitting ionizing ration into the atmosphere especially with the industrialisation of the world as Cameroon strives to be an emerging nation by 2035. The bill therefore defines standards relating to the protection of people, property and the environment against hazards from radiological and nuclear materials. While seeking to align with national legislation and recommendations of the IAEA as well as other provisions of international legal instruments, the bill broadens the scope of radiation protection by including aspects relating to nuclear safety, security and safeguards. The proposed bill defines basic principles and minimum standards for the protection of people, goods and the environment by specifying among other things the radioactive and nuclear substance import and export control regime. The Minister affirmed that the role of the regulatory and control authority whose relevant policy instruments have been strengthened to effectively discharge its duties of ensuring radiological and nuclear safety have been clearly outlined in the bill as well as sanctions for defaulters.

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