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State inks MoU for radiation safety

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 24: The state government today signed an MoU with Atomic Energy Regulatory Board for setting up a directorate of radiation safety, in an effort to decentralise regulation of radiology units operating in Odisha.

This will allow the state government to inspect X-ray units set up by hospitals and private nursing homes in the state.

According to existing laws, only Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is empowered to make such inspections and take action in case of violation of safety norms.

Odisha became the 10th state to enter into such an agreement with the AERB. The other nine states are Kerala, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

The MoU aims at ensuring safe use of ionising radiation and nuclear energy in the state for medical purposes. State health secretary Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra signed the MoU on behalf of the state government.

“The mission of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board is to ensure that the use of ionising radiation and nuclear energy in India does not cause undue risk to health and environment,” said AERB secretary R. Bhattacharya.

The board collaborates with the state governments so that the latter could exercise powers on its behalf and take adequate measures to prevent radiation hazards.

Bhattacharya said that according to a survey conducted in the 90s, there were around 30,000 X-ray units in the entire country.

Now, that number has risen to more than 50,000. Every year around 1,000 X-ray units are added to the existing facility, he added.

“Though the state government is authorised to inspect and ensure the regulations of such units, it was not found to be sufficient. For the time being, director, medical education and training will function as directorate of radiation safety and additional manpower as required will be created with due approval of the government,” Mohapatra said.