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‘Shipment of radioactive pipes returned to country of origin’

By JT - Sep 04,2019 - Last updated at Sep 04,2019

AMMAN — A shipment of radioactively contaminated pipes, with excess levels of Radium 226, was returned to its country of origin on Tuesday after arriving at the Kingdom’s border, the Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission (EMRC) said on Tuesday.

The shipment seized and sent back by EMRC personnel weighed approximately 23,500kg and consisted of metal pipes of various sizes that upon inspection were found to be acutely contaminated with Radium 226, the entry of which is prohibited under regulations, EMRC Chief Commissioner Farouq Hiyari said in a statement by the EMRC. 

According to Hiyari, the EMRC adheres to a set protocol when testing for radioactive contamination, pointing to the use of paraphernalia, which detect radiation levels and their sources at border entrances and exits.

The EMRC monitors border operations through the operations room located in the monitoring and emergency centre at the commission, Hiyari said, adding that the centre operates around-the-clock to provide technical support and follow up on alerts from vehicles that may have committed violations. 

Hiyari noted that the EMRC, through its legally mandated role, monitors radiation levels to ensure the safety of products that enter, pass through and exit Jordan.

With the help of specialised devices and electronic gates used to detect radiation, the EMRC works to combat the illicit trade of radioactive or nuclear material that could threaten the Kingdom’s security. 

The EMRC possesses 66 radiation-detection gates that cover all border crossings, whether aerial, land or maritime. 

In 2018, EMRC personnel implemented around 2.4 million inspections of radiation at border crossings. 

Three shipments that showed radioactive readings exceeding the acceptable rates have been seized and shipped back to their countries of origin, in accordance with protocol. 

Farouq Hiari said that the commission in 2018 finished 29,107 transactions and granted 444 permits for importing, transporting and re-exporting radiation devices and radioactive material, in addition to issuing 872 licences for institutions working in radiology, and 1,437 personal licences for workers in the sector, including 45 for workers at the Jordan Research and Training Reactor, according to a 2018 EMRC statement.

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