Lebanese Atomic Energy Commission Says No Radioactive Pollution in Ouzai

The Lebanese Atomic Energy Commission (LAEC) has ruled out any danger to the public from a metal cylinder containing a "radioactive substance" that was found on Ouzai’s beach.

The LAEC said none of the substance escaped from the object.

"Tests conducted in the field showed the radioactive substance was still isolated in the cylinder and did not cause any radioactive pollution in the area it was found," the LAEC said in a statement.

The head of the LAEC has said that the cylinder contains radioactive material usually used in oil and gas exploration operations.

The cylinder bore the inscription "USA DOT 7A TYPE A RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL".

It was transported by the LAEC and the Lebanese Army before being stored according to international safety standards, the organization said.

"Currently we do not have any information on the origin of this cylinder," said Environment Minister Tarek al-Khatib.

"I asked the prosecutor yesterday to open an investigation about this which will be conducted by the military police," he told AFP.

"If this container has come from the sea, we will have to make sure there are no other similar cylinders."

Lebanon has struggled with a waste crisis that saw mountains of garbage pile up on streets in and around the capital in 2015.

The country has more than 150 illegal dump sites where waste is burned, according to Human Rights Watch.

"Lebanon's ongoing waste management crisis poses serious health risks for the country’s residents," the New York-based HRW has said.

The waste crisis triggered mass protests, with many taking aim at politicians in a country that has suffered endemic corruption since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war.

Source: Agence France Presse, Naharnet

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