On August 20 and 21 the Southern African Radiation Protection Association (SARPA) held its 18th Annual Conference and General Meeting in Gauteng, inviting a number of companies and organizations from the South African nuclear industry. Rosatom Central and Southern Africa took part in the meeting and presented an overview of the global nuclear industry to the country’s top Radiation Protection professionals. His presentation highlighted both energy and non-energy uses of nuclear technology, showcasing Rosatom experience in both fields.

One of the key themes that emerged from this year’s conference was the growing use of nuclear medicine across the African continent, specifically for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.  A large percentage of global cancer cases could be prevented by avoiding known risk factors and implementing existing evidence-based prevention strategies. Nuclear medicine is rapidly expanding globally and plays a vitally important role in the early detection and treatment of cancer. The earlier cancer is detected the more likely it is to respond positively to treatment and this generally results in a greater probability of recovery.

The focal points of discussions centered around the implementation of effective safety measures in the region which would allow for the safe use of nuclear medicine and other peaceful nuclear applications, topics included: radiation norm regulations, radiation protection, waste management, training and development and the overall global industry trends.

Dmitry Shornikov, Regional Vice-President of Rosatom Central and Southern Africa, presented an overview of the global trends in the nuclear industry including the growing development of non-energy applications of nuclear in Africa. He also emphasized the importance of Radiation Protection and highlighted Rosatom’s commitment to safety.  “We fully support SARPA’s policy and believe that safety is the number one priority. As a vendor and an operator of nuclear facilities across the globe we work closely with regulators to ensure safety is the top priority.”

Shornikov then highlighted the recent cooperation agreement which was signed between the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA) and Rusatom Healthcare, the healthcare division of Russian state owned nuclear corporation Rosatom. The agreement on cooperation in the sphere of non-power related uses of nuclear technology was signed on the sidelines of BRICS. “As part of the agreement the parties intend to roll out cancer treatment centers across the African continent. We truly believe that by combining our world class expertise we will be able to make life saving nuclear medicine far more readily available in Africa,” concluded Shornikov.