Government & Industry Come Together To Discuss Preparedness For Radiological Safety

Top Quote PHD Chambers of Commerce in collaboration with UK-India Bilateral Expert Knowledge Exchange Network on Radiological Safety and Security, along with Centre for Disaster Risk and Safety (C-DRAS) organized Conference on Industry Preparedness for Radiological Safety at PHD House, New Delhi. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) July 10, 2015 - The aim of the conference was to address the following four fold agenda:
    To identify any gaps in existing knowledge and challenges faced by industry and other sectors in preparedness' for Radiological Safety.
    To discuss threats and mitigation strategies, particularly in relation to safety mechanisms at the level of industries and organizations through which better radiological security, can be encouraged by design.
    To provide a forum for sharing knowledge, technologies and good practices across agencies and sectors.
    To bring forth some of the good national and international practices in this space.

    Mr. D.N. Sharma, Member National Disaster Management Authority along with Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi, Member Parliament, Mr. Satish Upadhyay, President BJP Delhi and a high level group of IAS officers and industry experts were present at the event to discuss various safety measures for Indian industry in a major radiological disaster situation.

    The conference was aimed towards sharing perspectives, experiences and good practices on equipping industry and community as a whole to prevent radiological accidents effectively and efficiently, mainly through addressing the issue of preparedness by involving industry in disaster preparedness planning, response and recovery, and facilitating in areas of skill development of local community and industry for preparedness in the specialized area of Radiological safety.

    Prominent disaster management expert of the country Dr. Angeli Qwatra, Director General of Centre for Disaster Risk and Safety (C-DRAS) and Founder Chairperson, Philanthrope setting the agenda of the meeting said, "There is a need for focused education and awareness training on prevention of radiological incidents targeting specific groups, which may be involved at one or more stage of the equipment lifecycle. Similarly, greater education and awareness is needed to other industry sectors where radiological materials are used, to heighten their awareness of points of vulnerability and to provide support on strengthening current procedures."

    The conference provides a multiple stakeholder platform to bring together the policy makers, industry leaders, multi-laterals and representatives from civil society, and allied agencies on a common platform to facilitate understanding amongst stakeholders on radiological safety, as well as to provide a platform to showcase innovative, processes and practices for Radiological safety and security.

    "There is value in sharing experience and technologies on prevention and preparedness between equivalent stakeholder organisations within India and UK in order to develop stronger awareness of threats and ways in which incidents can be prevented. Industry - specific professional organizations can facilitate dialogue across the sectors and ensure that Government legislation is translated into operational implementation." added Dr. Qwatra thanking all prominent guests assembled to share and exchange views and ideas on this issue.

    Dr. R.P. Tripathi, Director, Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Applied Sciences (INMAS), Ms. Jennifer Cole, Head, UK-India Bilateral Expert Knowledge Exchange Network on Radiological Safety and Security, Royal United Services Institute, London and Shri. Hem Pande, IAS, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Govt. of India among others were present at the conference.

    About Conference On Industry Preparedness For Radiological Safety
    Natural and man-made disasters are on the rise all over the world in their magnitude, complexity, frequency causing great damage to society and environment and thereby creating an adverse impact on the economy. In India annual economic loss due to disasters is accounted at 2% of its GDP as per World Bank study. Compounded losses suffered by the industries, including direct, indirect and secondary losses, are colossal and virtually incalculable. The study also reveals that around 43% of the industries, experiencing a disaster, never reopen and 29% close after a gap of two years even if they mobilize resources to restart operations. Large industries which are very few in number have large capacity to recover fast. However, they also suffer huge losses when it comes to Disaster.

    Industries must be prepared themselves so that they are able to protect themselves and support and supplement efforts of other stakeholders. There is also a need for an attitudinal change, a shift from a not only a response and relief centric approach to a regime anticipating importance of preparedness and mitigation for building a safer environment and implementation of risk reduction measures. However, one of the key challenges for industries in India today is the very application of information regarding disaster risk reduction and Business Continuity as an essential component in their business planning. This is particularly true for technical areas like Radiological safety and security.

    The use of radioactive materials implies immense benefits for the humankind so they are used extensively throughout the world for a wide range of beneficial purposes, particularly in medical, general industry, agricultural product processing research and educational applications. However, the use of radioactive materials also implies risks to the health and safety of persons and to the environment, risks that must be carefully managed.

    Ensuring safety in the use of radiation materials and operation of related facilities is of paramount importance for the protection of people and the environment from any associated radiation risks.

    In order to ensure radiation safety in India, a cradle-to-grave system for the control of radiation sources has been established. Establishment of such a system in India includes among other things, the existence of a legislative framework for safety (relevant laws and regulations), the establishment of a national infrastructure for control of radiation sources (an operational regulatory body with qualified and adequate staff), and the implementation of regulatory control activities (such as authorization, inspection and enforcement).

    Industry Perspective
    Disaster preparedness is very critical to business survival. As a stakeholder, the involvement of the industry extends to all three phases i.e. Disaster preparedness, management during disasters and post disaster recovery and rehabilitation.

    Moreover, there are ample opportunities for the business, as Innovators and developers of product and services which are still untapped so as to make communities and industries more disaster resilient. However, one of the key challenges for industries in India today is the very application of information regarding disaster risk reduction and mitigation as an essential part of their business planning. This is particularly true for technical area like Radiological safety and security.

    The increasing use of radioactive materials within the Indian Industries - Healthcare, Food Processing and Research and Higher Education sectors, that have seen rapid expansion in recent years, has increased both the number of sites at which radioactive material is held and used

    in India, and the number of staff with the knowledge of how it might be misused. Further a significant quantity of radioactive material is being transported, stored and redistributed between hospitals, laboratories, organizations and industry units across India.

    Responsibility for the safety and security of the Radioactive materials lies firmly with the owners and operators of the facilities at which they are held and used as per the rules, licensing procedures and directives laid down by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (under the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India) with the aim of ensuring that the use of ionizing radiation and nuclear energy does not cause unacceptable impact on workers, members of the public and to the environment.

    Therefore, regulation of radioactive materials needs strong management at the operational level i.e. the organization and facilities in which radioactive material is stored and used, as well as at the strategic Government level, for which good communication between the two is essential.

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