Disposal of radioactive wastes: Cabinet obligates polluters to bear costs

Published: October 14, 2019 18:18:56 | Updated: October 15, 2019 10:23:22

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presiding over the cabinet meeting at her office on Monday. -PID Photo

The Cabinet has approved a draft policy for radioactive waste management, obligating the users of radioactive elements or polluters to take the main role for safe disposal of the hazardous wastes.

The draft of the National Policy on Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management-2019 was approved during the Cabinet meeting held with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair at her office on Monday.

Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam briefed reporters at the Secretariat after the meeting, report BSS and UNB.

The cabinet secretary said the draft policy has been framed as per the guidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with an aim to prevent harms and any untoward incident to be caused by such radioactive wastes and nuclear energy.

“The policy has been prepared to dispose of all the radioactive wastes to be released from atomic energy materials in different sectors across the country,” he said adding atomic energy is also used in ultrasonography test of the medical sector.

Alam said an entity under Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) to be called Radioactive Waste Management Company (RWMC) would oversee the radioactive waste disposal process.

"But the polluters will have to pay for it,” said Shafiul Alam.

About Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, he said Russia will take away the wastes of the plant and dispose of that in their country as per the agreement.

The top bureaucrat, however, said the government intended to keep the use of atomic energy to minimal or logical level to minimize radioactive wastes.

He said the policy would cover all areas relating to radioactive wastes like medical, scientific and energy sectors.

The Cabinet also gave the final approval to the draft of the Bangladesh Engineering Research Council Bill 2019 to promote engineering research and ensure the standard of technology for their pragmatic uses in the country.

“It’s a new law and new concept as well. We don’t have any institution for engineering research like that for agriculture and other sectors,” said the Cabinet Secretary.

A 10-member governing body headed by a chairman will run the council. The chairman will also be the Chief Executive Officer of the council, he said.

There will also be an advisory body headed by the Science and Technology Minister for the research council, he added.

Besides, the Cabinet gave approval to the draft of the Bangladesh Lighthouse Bill, 2019 making the existing the Lighthouse Act, 1927 as a time-befitting one, said Shafiul Alam.

As per the bill, there will be a port lighthouse authority to supervise and run the country’s port lighthouses, he said.

The levy (charge) collection process of lighthouses has been made easier in the bill.

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