Report: Endeavors to Safely Store Radioactive Material Away from Adlounإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Lebanese authorities are tackling a new file trying to find a location to safely store radioactive material in a manner that meets the standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Defense Minister Samir Moqbel had suggested to store the material in one of Adloun's military barracks in the south which did not meet the state's approval.
“The last ten days have witnessed discussions among various official institutions in a bid to find ways to store some substantial radioactive material in Lebanon,” sources close to PM Tammam Salam told As Safir daily on Tuesday.
They added that “the move came on the backdrop of successive notices from the IAEA to find a safe place to store the material.”
They noted that some reports have warned of attempts to smuggle this kind of radioactive material which originates from Syria, Iraq and other countries in the region.
“There are also significant quantities of iron from Chernobyl (Ukraine),” the sources added pointing out that “gangs exploit illegal crossings and other official non-land crossings in collaboration with the employees to smuggle the material.”
The sources said: “the file was brought up ten days ago when the premiership received a decision issued by Defense Minister Samir Moqbel asking the Lebanese Army to establish a permanent location to store the radioactive material in one of Adloun's barracks.”
“However, Speaker Nabih Berri, Salam and the Army Command halted the decision.”
“Secretary General of the National Council for Scientific Research Mouin Hamzah said in a report that was handed to Salam that the location suggested in Adloun does not meet the IAEA international standards and conventions,” added the sources.
According to Hamzah, “Adloun is an agricultural and touristic region that is close to residential areas, not to mention the necessity of guarding such areas 24/7.”
“A technical military committee has been formed to find a better solution and a substitute for Adloun on condition that the location meets the IAEA's standards,” sources to Salam said, noting the the PM has given clear orders to stay away from the capital, major cities and some touristic regions.”
Last month, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil ordered the airport customs agency to return the shipment of 98 crates of mobile phone covers, imported from China, that were suspected of carrying radioactive material.
In January Khalil also revealed that toxic radioactive material was discovered in food products, narcotic pills, and industrial machines that were being smuggled at the airport and Beirut Port.