Regulators in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday held talks with local police on forthcoming standards for safeguarding radioactive materials used in medicine, industry and other sectors, the Emirates News Agency reported (see GSN, March 14).
The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation briefed law enforcement officials from around the emirates, as well as the Critical National Infrastructure Authority and Interior Ministry about specific measures in the developing policy.
"This regulation will focus on efforts to prevent radioactive sources from getting lost or stolen," FANR Nuclear Security Department head Salem al-Qubaisi said.
There are concerns across the globe that terrorists could use such sources to produce a radiological "dirty bomb," which would use conventional explosives to disperse radioactive material.
Al-Qubaisi said UAE law empowered the nuclear authority to oversee the safeguarding of radioactive materials, "but it is the police who work on crime prevention and investigation. That is why we attach so much importance to interacting with them before we issue any regulation."
Interior Ministry Civil Defense acting chief Maj. Gen. Rashid Thani al-Matrooshi said, "There is no indication that the security of radioactive sources in the UAE is an issue. But we need to be prepared for any eventuality and I believe FANR's regulation will help clarify roles and responsibilities in this field."
The nuclear authority to date has approved roughly 340 licenses for use of radioactive sources by organizations in the public and private sectors. About 100 of those license recipients would be covered by the new rules (Emirates News Agency/Khaleej Times, July 13).