PHILIPPINES / NUCLEAR SECURITY

Preview Language:   Original
03-Jun-2013 00:02:25
After six years of preparation and six weeks to complete, a nuclear security operation to remove highly radioactive sources from disused medical devices in Manila has been successfully finalized. IAEA

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STORY: PHILIPPINES / NUCLEAR SECURITY
TRT: 2.25
SOURCE: IAEA
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: APRIL 2013, MANILA, PHILIPPINES

SHOTLIST:

1. Wide shot, entrance to the PNRI, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute
2. Pan right, disused teletherapy heads
3. Tilt up, IAEA expert makes notes
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Vilmos Friedrich, IAEA Radioactive Waste Expert:
“Radioactive material by itself, by physical law, is decaying, meaning the activity is decreasing and after a certain time, after a certain decay time, it is not usable any more for the original purpose.”
5. Zoom out, teletherapy head being moved to hot cell
6. Close up, NECSA team member operates crane to lift teletherapy head into hot cell
7. Med shot, teletherapy head is lifted into hot cell
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Vilmos Friedrich, IAEA Radioactive Waste Expert:
“A sealed radioactive source is a small object, is a small capsule which contains a very high concentration of radioactive material of very high activity. The encapsulation ensures that the radioactive material will not disperse in the environment under normal operating conditions.”
9. Med shot, outside shot of hot cell with operators using manipulators
10. Zoom in, a monitor detects the radiation level inside the hot cell
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Christina George, IAEA Radioactive Source Security Officer:
“A hot cell is a shielded radiation containment chamber. It’s called hot not because of the outside temperatures here in Manila, but actually because what is to be handled inside the hot cell is highly radioactive material.”
12. Med shot, NECSA works with the manipulators which handle the equipment inside
13. Close up, hands of the operator
14. Close up, NECSA team member at work with view into the hot cell
15. Close up, NECSA team member watches the work inside the hot cell on a screen images are coming from cameras within the hot cell
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Christina George, IAEA Radioactive Source Security Officer:
“Disused sources present vulnerability because they could be stolen or smuggled. In the worst case scenario radioactive material could be used in something called a dirty bomb which may cause effects on the human health as well as the environment. Probably to a lesser degree, but still important is the panic that such an incident could cause as well as the societal disruption. There may be also financial and political implications of the use of radioactive material.”
17. Various shots, inside the hot cell the drawer which contains the source is removed
18. Close up, the manipulator pushes the capsule and a shielding plug from inside the hot cell through a passageway that leads into the long-term storage shield which is outside of the hot cell
19. Med shot, NECSA workers outside of the hot cell place a shielding plug into the long term storage shield and close it

STORYLINE

After six years of preparation and six weeks to complete, a nuclear security operation to remove highly radioactive sources from disused medical devices in Manila has been successfully finalised.

With the use of a specialised facility known as the "mobile hot cell" these sources were placed into two secure, long-term storage shields. The hot cell had been shipped to the Philippines from South Africa.

SOUNDBITE (English) Vilmos Friedrich, IAEA Radioactive Waste Expert:
“Radioactive material by itself, by physical law, is decaying, meaning the activity is decreasing and after a certain time, after a certain decay time, it is not usable any more for the original purpose.”

The project was financed via the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Fund. The IAEA, through its Office of Nuclear Security, supports the efforts of its Member States to improve the security of nuclear and other radioactive materials in use or storage at medical and industrial facilities or power plants. The Agency also helps countries to find long-term solutions for the safe
storage of disused sealed radioactive sources.

SOUNDBITE (English) Vilmos Friedrich, IAEA Radioactive Waste Expert:
“A sealed radioactive source is a small object, is a small capsule which contains a very high concentration of radioactive material of very high activity. The encapsulation ensures that the radioactive material will not disperse in the environment under normal operating conditions.”

Sealed radioactive sources are used in a wide variety of devices in medical, industrial and agricultural facilities worldwide. When the radioactive material decays, it is no longer usable for the original purpose and becomes ‘disused’. The proper storage of disused sources is important from a nuclear security perspective, since such sources are vulnerable to loss, abandonment, theft or misuse and could be used by criminals in a so-called ‘dirty bomb’.

In March and April 2013, a team of experts from South Africa’s Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA) successfully removed 16 highly radioactive disused cobalt and caesium sources from teletherapy and industrial devices and placed them into two secure, long-term storage shields. The six-week mission was financed by the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Fund.

The devices had been in storage at the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) in Manila. Due to the size of the operation, the IAEA arranged for the mobile hot cell to be deployed. This is a shielded radiation chamber that was conceived by the IAEA and manufactured by NECSA, which owns and operates the facility. Funds from the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Fund were made available to develop the mobile unit.

SOUNDBITE (English) Christina George, IAEA Radioactive Source Security Officer:
“A hot cell is a shielded radiation containment chamber. It’s called hot not because of the outside temperatures here in Manila, but actually because what is to be handled inside the hot cell is highly radioactive material.”

Each device had to be lifted into the hot cell with a crane. From outside, the NECSA team removed the source from the teletherapy head remotely, with the use of manipulators. The sources could not be removed outside of the hot cell because the high levels of radioactivity would have caused severe health damage to the operators.

SOUNDBITE (English) Christina George, IAEA Radioactive Source Security Officer:
“Disused sources present vulnerability because they could be stolen or smuggled. In the worst case scenario radioactive material could be used in something called a dirty bomb which may cause effects on the human health as well as the environment. Probably to a lesser degree, but still important is the panic that such an incident could cause as well as the societal disruption. There may be also financial and political implications of the use of radioactive material.”

Once the sources had been removed they were placed into protective capsules within the hot cell. The capsules were slid through a passageway into a long-term storage shield.

These shields were then placed into an additional metal container, secured further with a metal cage, locked and put into a long-term storage facility.
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 IAEA
Asset ID
U130603e