Cuba appeals to IAEA to assess its readiness for radiation emergencies

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-25 07:24:45|Editor: ZD
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HAVANA, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- At the request of the Cuban government, experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are on the island for the first time, to assess the country's readiness for radiation emergencies.

The visit is not an inspection or an audit, but an assessment of how the country complies with the international standards related to preparedness and response to radiation catastrophes, Cuban sources said.

The evaluation, which began on Nov. 19 and goes through Nov. 27, will focus on several sites in Havana, including the Ameijeiras Brothers Hospital, Jose Marti International Airport, the fire department and the General Customs Office of the Republic.

The team of experts hired by the IAEA will also visit 30 organizations related to the area including the General Staff of the Civil Defense, Isotope Center.

The director of the National Center for Nuclear Safety, engineer Alba Guillen, said the issues concerning emergency matters in the country have been examined in previous missions, but this is the first time it has focused on radiation and nuclear incidence.

In interviews with the local press, Guillen said there is a lot of interest in the IAEA to deploy the Emergency Preparedness Review (EPREV) mission at the request of each country.

The visits provide recommendations, suggestions and determinations on good practices on this issue, as well as offering the possibility sharing them with others, Guillen said.

"After the visit there is a time to establish an action plan, aimed at perfecting the response system for radiological emergencies," said the specialist.

The experts focus on the evaluation of the standard established by the IAEA, from the exchange of experiences with Cuban specialists.

In Cuba, some 120 entities use ionizing radiation, most are located in Havana, where the highest risk facilities are located, including the hospitals with cobalt sources for cancer treatments.

Cuba has a proven system to face different types of emergency, led by the Civil Defense, and the world is acknowledged by its timely and effective response to the usual natural disasters hitting the country, such as the hurricanes.

Cuba, Belarus and Canada are three countries that will receive EPREV missions this year.