Technical Cooperation Regional Meeting on Establishing an Environmental Monitoring Programme – Sampling Strategies and Dose Assessment @ Vienna, Austria

Technical Cooperation Regional Meeting on Establishing an Environmental Monitoring Programme – Sampling Strategies and Dose Assessment @ Vienna, Austria

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Participants: RMI EPA- Damiee Riklon, Kristina Reimers; MIMRA- Lyla Lemari, Candice Guavis

The meeting was organized jointly by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in close collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the procedures for establishing baselines on exposure to the public to various sources of radiation and for assessing radiation doses. It covered topics such as Exposure Pathways: cosmic radiation, gamma radiation from radionuclides present in air, soil, food and drinking water; Natural and man-made radionuclides; Sampling strategies and dose assessment methodologies; and International standards.

Aside from lectures and group discussions, participants were allowed ten minutes to give a country presentation. Ms Kristina Reimers gave a brief description on RMI’s behalf and expressed how the Marshall Islands do not have national standards on Sampling and Dose assessment yet. But with current national projects supported by the IAEA, “Developing a National Radioactivity Monitoring Capacity” and “Improving Services in Radiology” in addition to 2018’s project on “Strengthening the National Infrastructure for Radiation Safety”, the RMI will then have such standards in the future.

The following topics discussed during discussions and lectures left burning questions in our minds- how “safe” are we in terms of the following:

  • Exposure in workplaces (i.e. radiology lab)

  • Exposure of our national airline’s crew to cosmic radiation

  • Exposure in food (terrestrial and marine)

  • Terrestrial [i.e. vegetables/grains, meat, milk]

  • Marine [i.e. fish, shellfish, marine food]

  • Exposures to radionuclides in drinking and ground water

  • Level of radionuclides in commodities (building materials, timber etc). Marshallese tend to use pieces of lumber for firewood.

  • Some countries stated they have banned imported used car parts/automobiles from Japan as they contain high levels of Cesium-137. How much of these materials are coming to Majuro, is there an enabled body to perform safety tests on imported commodities arriving in our ports?

As we continue to progress our national efforts in studying and understanding nuclear science, we will then be able to answer some of these concerning questions and, in the future, be able to give advice pertaining to the safety and well being of the Marshall Islands’ citizens especially its fragile environment.


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