On 3 April, the kick-off meeting of the Interagency Group under the project “Public Outreach on the Amnesty Program of Orphan Radiation Sources” was conducted in the Art Hub creative space of the Ukrinform information agency. The main task of the project is to inform the public about the hazard of orphan radiation sources, about the exemption from criminal liability for the voluntary handover of radiation sources by the public and on the lack of a market for radiation sources. The project has been implemented in the Dnipropetrovsk region since May 2017 with support of the U.S. Government and is a part of global program aimed at non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and elimination of a nuclear threat.
The meeting was opened by Vitalii Petruk, Head of the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management (SAEZ), who presented the main tasks of the project and expected outcomes. In particular, Vitalii Petruk stated that the project task is to raise the public culture in the management of orphan radiation sources and detection of such radioactive materials for their proper transport and storage in dedicated facilities. “Orphan radiation sources are a potential danger for both temporary owners of these materials and their families and for the country as a whole. Our goal is to collect all these sources at the specialized plants where experts will ensure their proper management and storage”, Vitalii Petruk commented.
The project is aimed at the reduction of nuclear terrorist threats in Ukraine, which is currently an urgent issue for world safety. “There could be an illicit trafficking of part of radiation sources that were previously used at some Ukrainian enterprises. The project purpose is to bring awareness to the public that radiation sources are not a commodity, but a danger, and that it is possible to remove such a danger in a safe and legal way. The project shall also result in readiness of the specialized structures to receive radioactive materials from the public”, said Vitalii Demianiuk, member of the Supervisory Board of the Chornobyl Research and Development Institute, being the project prime contractor.
The Interagency Working Group was established on SAEZ initiative. Representatives of the State Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety, Chornobyl Research and Development Institute, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine, State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, National Guard of Ukraine, State Emergency Service of Ukraine, Dnipro City Council and other executive authorities and institutions participated in the meeting.
The meeting of the Interagency Group resulted in the identification of important aspects to be addressed in the project implementation, such as proper notification of the public, readiness of the profile agencies to respond to the voluntary handover of radiation sources by the public and efficient organization to receive and further manage radioactive materials.