Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
THE government has partnered the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to install security detection equipment at the country’s entry ports to guard against smuggling of illicit nuclear materials which are a threat to national security.
Key Government departments such as Office of President and Cabinet, Ministries of Defence, Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs, Department of Civil Protection, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Department of Immigration, Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Radiation Protection Authority of Zimbabwe, Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and forensics are meeting for a training workshop in Victoria Falls to familiarise themselves with the equipment donated by IAEA.
The workshop was organised by the Radiation Protection Authority of Zimbabwe and the donated equipment was pre-tested at the Victoria Falls Border Post and Victoria Falls International Airport on Tuesday.
The Deputy Chief Secretary to the Office of President and Cabinet, Mr Justin Mupamhanga, on Tuesday received the first consignment of three radio-nuclide identification devices to be used to detect and identify radioactive materials and 21 personal radiation detection gadgets.
The equipment will be used at Beitbridge and Chirundu border posts as well as at the Harare International Airport.
The Government aims to install similar equipment at all the country’s entry and exit points.
Mr Mupamhanga said the development was in line with Government’s plans to modernise entry and exit points to fight infiltration and improve ease of doing business as well as enhancing trade.
He said improving security at the country’s ports would benefit the whole Sadc region because of Zimbabwe’s strategic location.
“We heartily accept and hope that training of our people will enhance their skills in handling nuclear and radioactive materials. As Government we are generally pleased as we fight the invisible hand of the enemy,” he said.
Mr Mupamhanga said a trafficking database has shown the existence of illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive sources.
Mr Mupamhanga said improving security at entry points will also boost tourism.
“The constantly evolving threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism is one of the challenges to international peace security. International cooperation in this area is important as it allows for a more inclusive, coordinated and sustainable global nuclear security architecture for the common benefit and security of all.
He said illicitly trafficked materials cause safety, security and health problems.