Statement by Ms. Saima Sayed, Counsellor Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations at the Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committee on “Effects of Atomic Radiation” (November 2, 2017)

Mr. Chairman,

On behalf of Pakistan’s delegation, I thank the Chairman of the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) for his briefing.

I would like to convey my delegation’s appreciation for the work done by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation during its 64th Session this year. We highly appreciate the Committee’s 60 years of service, and its valuable contribution in promoting wider knowledge and understanding of the levels, effects and risks of atomic and ionizing radiation on human beings and environment, in fulfillment of its mandate, with scientific authority and independence. Pakistan being a member of this committee is fully cognizant of the important role of this committee.

Mr. Chairman,

Nuclear energy by virtue of its sheer power and force has always remained a sensitive issue and its mention evokes apprehension and unease. Disastrous accidents of the past have made us realize the need for extreme caution while handling this volatile resource. Nonetheless, use of nuclear technology is rapidly increasing in the world for peaceful means. Pakistan uses nuclear technology for peaceful purposes in many areas including power production, health, agriculture, bio-technology, pharmacology and Industry.

Pakistan has a robust national infrastructure for protection of environment, general public and radiation workers. Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) is an independent regulatory body with the responsibility to control, regulate and supervise all the matters related to radiation and nuclear safety in the facilities operated by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission PAEC and its organizations.

It is mandatory for all the nuclear facilities of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission PAEC to have procedures/policies in place for safety of its workers, public and environment from harmful effects of atomic radiation. Also, measures are in place to meet any accident or emergency situation so as to minimize the consequences. Our nuclear facilities are required to develop their comprehensive radiological environmental monitoring programme for regular surveillance of radiation levels around them.

Ensuring safety of the workers, public and environment from the hazards of atomic radiation is a challenging responsibility for such a regulatory body and requires sufficient number of highly skilled professionals with appropriate academic qualification and adequate technical experience. Pakistan has undertaken several steps for the capacity building of all concerned stakeholders in nuclear/radiation safety, radiation protection and security of nuclear and radioactive material. For this purpose a Centre of Excellence has been established for training in nuclear security, nuclear safety and regulatory aspects.

Pakistan has a firm commitment to further enhance infrastructure, capacity and training of its personnel, in collaboration with international organizations, to support radiation safety regime and to protect radiation workers, public and the environment from harmful effects of atomic radiation.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority PNRA has given special attention to develop a system of emergency preparedness and response to nuclear or radiological emergencies. It is a National Warning Point and Competent Authority designated under early Notification and Assistance Conventions for coordination of nuclear or radiological emergencies at national and international level. Pakistan regularly participates in emergency exercises conducted by IAEA to test arrangements made under these conventions

Health surveillance programs for radiation workers in line with PNRA regulation have been developed and implemented in all PAEC nuclear facilities to ascertain their health and to provide free medical coverage when needed. Till date, no incident of radiation induced diseases including cancer among radiation workers has been reported from any PAEC facility.

Mr. Chairman,

UNSCEAR’s Reports, ICRP recommendations and IAFA Standards are regularly used in Pakistan as reference in developing national regulations, reshaping research work activities and enhancing understanding of the effects of atomic radiation. The Government of Pakistan through its State Organizations has shown strong commitment to implement recommendations of UNSCEAR Reports.

Pakistan has been participating actively in UNSCEAR meetings and contributing to its activities by providing relevant data and information and will continue its cooperation and support to UNSCEAR. Pakistan is fully aware of the significance and sensitivity towards the need for foolproof protective and safety measures while handling this extremely volatile source of energy.

Thank you.