Government Of St. Kitts and Nevis Passes Forward-Thinking Radiation Safety and Security Bill, 2024, Into Law

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (SKNIS) – Through the passage of the Radiation Safety and Security Bill, 2024, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is meeting its international obligations concerning the safe and responsible use of this valuable energy source that can be leveraged to advance the country.

The Radiation Safety and Security Bill, 2024, provides for the safe, secure and peaceful use of radiation technology including nuclear technology; to give effect to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Safeguards Agreement between the Government of Saint Christopher and Nevis and the International Atomic Energy Agency; for the licensing of activities related to the control and use of nuclear technology and for the monitoring and control of radioactive sources.

In essence, the Act applies to all activities, facilities and practices involving the peaceful use of ionising radiation, as well as non-ionising sources of radiation used in medical facilities, in security scanning devices and for any other lawful purpose, to ensure that the operating environment for these sources has adequate shielding when a device is in operation.

Prime Minister and Minister of Health, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew noted that the Bill was brought forward at this particular time out of serious concerns brought forward by the St. Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards (SKNBS) of the numerous dangerous sources of radiation being emitted from devices stored in and around St. Kitts, particularly in the Basseterre area. There was no legislative regime to regulate these devices for the protection of the wider population.

“We have to make sure that we protect our people and that is why this piece of legislation is critically important … so that we can make people comply as soon and as quickly as possible,” Dr. Drew emphasised.

Moreover, Prime Minister Dr. Drew said that the Bill becomes even more significant given the application of radiation in the field of medicine, particularly as St. Kitts and Nevis continues to broaden the scope of lifesaving services that utilise radiation technology.

“For example, if you have radiographers, radiologists and even patients who are exposed to radiation that is not properly regulated they can be overexposed which can lead to serious diseases Madame Speaker [such as] diseases of the bone marrow and can even lead to cancer, and that is why we have to make sure that we properly regulate it here so that our people who seek to access this type of technology for their medical care that they are being protected properly,” the prime minister said.

Prime Minister Dr. Drew indicated that by creating the regulatory framework for its proper and safe use, St. Kitts and Nevis can now derive positive benefits from radiation technology.

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