In February and March, a campaign will be held to collect ionizing radiation sources in the Dnepropetrovsk Region

In February and March, a campaign will be held to collect ionizing radiation sources in the Dnepropetrovsk Region

It is a new stage of work with communities and citizens which has been announced as part of the radiation awareness campaign “STEP to Safety” carried out in the Dnipropetrovsk Region for the past eight months. The goal is to collect hazardous ionizing radiation sources (IRS), which are not currently regulated by the government.

Olena Salnyk, the Manager of the “STEP to Safety” project, said that a mobile radiology laboratory would operate in 8 cities of the Dnipropetrovsk Region from February 16 to March 19. The laboratory will be positioned in the places determined by local authorities. The time and places for the laboratory will be specified on the project’s website and in social media.

The project “STEP to Safety” has reached its climax. For the previous months of the campaign, we have carried out multi-level communication to inform all target groups of ionizing radiation sources. It focused on the following four main rules:

ionizing radiation sources are hazardous because they can cause serious damage to human life, health and the environment if mishandled;
therefore, IRS may not be disassembled or used by non-specialists;
it is necessary to notify rescuers, police and local authorities about such hazardous items found;
any people who voluntarily notify of any IRS found/owned will not be punished by law.

We announce now the next important stage: pilot collection of ionizing radiation sources. This is the beginning of the practical implementation, which will allow us to remove some part of ionizing radiation sources from uncontrolled circulation. Our special mobile laboratory will start working in 8 pilot cities on February 16. This laboratory will be operating from February 16 to March 19 in the following cities/towns: Dnipro, Verkhnodniprovsk, Kamianske, Marhanets, Nikopol, Pokrov, Zhovti Vody, Kryvyi Rih. At the moment, we are finishing coordinating with local authorities the routes and locations of the laboratory and will inform the citizens of these cities/towns additionally,” she said.

Olena Salnyk noted that the specialists will continue their informational and explanatory work on the ground and will keep consulting local citizens. If necessary or in case of any suspicion, special employees will arrive to the place and check. These services will be provided free of charge.

“The mobile laboratory will be branded and therefore easy to recognize. The specialists in this laboratory will continue their informational and explanatory work and will keep consulting local citizens. They will be handing out instruction leaflets for future help. The project will be over in a couple of months anyway, but the experience and knowledge should remain with the people for many years as a guarantee of safety for individuals and large areas. Our laboratory is equipped with professional and certified research equipment, which allows to quickly detect hazardous radiation, to study a certain area, room or object. Therefore, whenever people reasonably suspect any item to have signs of radioactivity, they can report to our specialists, who will arrive and check. This job is free of charge,” said Olena Salnyk.

The manager of the “STEP to Safety” project reminded what IRS can look like and stressed that people do not have the right to collect or dispose of any radioactive items on their own.

“There are a lot of them actually. Their appearance varies from a small, needle-size cylinder to a big and massive object. They can be of various weight. The more hazardous and powerful the source is inside, the larger and heavier will be the outer protective shell. All gadgets and devices with any radioactive components have a radiation hazard sign on them. It is the only visual image proving the radioactivity and special conditions for handling/disposal.  Of course, this sign may partially get erased over time on some industrial items, gadgets or devices. Therefore, we urge citizens to be careful and responsible while dealing with obscure objects. It is better to entrust the inspection of them to specialists. When it is confirmed that an IRS has been found, the liquidation protocol will be used according to Resolution No. 813 of the Cabinet of Ministers dated June 2, 2003 and according to the local Procedure approved by the regional state administration in December 2017.

I would like to emphasize that we do not have the right to collect or dispose of radioactive items ourselves. Such work is within the competence of special organizations only, like the state specialized enterprise Radon Association, with which we cooperate very closely and fruitfully in this project, in particular with the Dnipro branch,” she reminded.

She added at the same time that the purpose of the “STEP to Safety” project is to inform citizens about radiation safety, to inspect areas or facilities for radioactive contamination or availability of IRS. Liquidation and utilization is within the competence of licensed special enterprises.

“Should there be any questions about the procedure, we are ready to answer them. We hope that citizens will actively respond to the possibility of legal disposal of hazardous radioactive objects. This will increase the level of individual and collective radiation safety,” she added.

You can watch press-conference by the link.