Improving Radiation Safety in the Caribbean: IAEA Expert Mission Helps the Bahamas Build National Inventory of Radiation Sources

Posted on: January 21, 2018

IAEA expert Joseph Tompkins demonstrates a step in the characterization of radioactive sources. (Photo: IAEA)

In October 2017, three IAEA experts conducted a mission on radiation safety in the Bahamas. The mission, carried out within the framework of an ongoing regional technical cooperation project[1], aimed to comprehensively assess the country’s regulatory infrastructure and to support the creation of a national inventory of radiation sources.

The IAEA team, together with Bahamian specialists, visited 12 medical and industrial sites, including Doctors Hospital, the Center for Specialized Dentistry, and Cancer Care Bahamas, to categorize on-site radiation sources. The team also delivered a workshop on ionising radiation, met with interim regulatory body representatives, and reviewed radiation safety laws, regulations, and processes to identify gaps and provide recommendations for addressing them.

At the opening of the three-day workshop, the Bahamas’ Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Housing Janice Miller acknowledged her country’s close cooperation with the IAEA. “Designation of a regulatory body and its operation – that is, authorisation, licensing, inspection and enforcement, radiation and nuclear protection and safety, safeguards, emergency preparation and response, transportation of radioactive material, import and export, radioactive nuclear waste storage and nuclear liabilities – at each phase, the IAEA will be consulted for guidance to ensure that our obligations as a member are met. The activities of the IAEA experts and local team will assist in establishing and maintaining a national inventory on radiation sources, inform the process of our efforts and, ultimately, lead to the appropriate regulation.”

Following the expert mission, and guided by the IAEA experts’ recommendations, the Bahamas has continued to create a national inventory of radiation sources. Work has been completed on the island of New Providence, and the IAEA’s Regulatory Authority Information System (RAIS) server and software are being procured. The country is also better equipped to develop specific radiation safety legislation and establish a dedicated regulatory body responsible for radioactive source control.

IAEA experts and the national inspection team collecting information from a mobile x-ray unit’s data plates at Doctors Hospital in Nassau. (Photo: IAEA)

The Bahamas has previously participated in the IAEA School for Drafting Regulations on Radiation Safety for IAEA Member States from the Caribbean in January 2017, where an initial draft regulation on radiation and radioactive waste safety was produced. In September 2017, Bahamian radiation safety licensing specialists also attended a regional training course in Canada, entitled Implementation of a National Regulatory Programme for the Control of Radiation Sources. This training provided Bahamian officials with fundamental knowledge and skills for authorisation, inspection and enforcement in medical, industrial, and research uses of ionising radiation.

Opening session of the IAEA expert mission to the Bahamas. (Photo: Bahamian Department of Environmental Health Services)

RLA9081 “Strengthening Cradle-to-Grave Control of Radioactive Sources”. Components of this regional technical cooperation project are funded through the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Fund, and through extrabudgetary contributions from the United States of America.

All News


Leaders of CARICOM are pictured at the 40th Regular Meeting in St. Lucia during the official opening ceremony, July 3, 2019. Bahamas Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis is seated at left. UN Secretary-General, His Excellency Antonio Guterres, pledged continued support. Secretary-General of CARICOM, His Excellency Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; outgoing CARICOM Chairman, Dr….


NEW POLICY ON RENEWAL OF E-PASSPORTS The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to announce its new policy on the Renewal of E-Passports. Effective immediately, persons renewing their electronic passports are required to submit the following upon application: 1. A completed Application Form; 2. The existing Electronic Passport; 3. A Photograph in accordance with ICAO Regulations…

Mr. Mark Holowesko, Non-Resident High Commissioner Designate pays Courtesy Call

NASSAU, The Bahamas — Mr. Mark Holowesko, Non-Resident High Commissioner Designate of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to New Zealand, met with the Permanent Secretary, Director General and other senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss matters relevant to this duties on Thursday morning, June 20, 2019 at the Ministry. Mr. Holowesko…


The Sixth Meeting Of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CARICOM and Cuba Ministers and delegates and CARICOM Secretary-General pose for a photo after the opening of the Meeting. Foreign Ministers of the Caribbean Community CARICOM and Cuba held their 6th Round of Meetings in Georgetown, Guyana on Friday, 14 June, 2019. The agenda involved matters…


Mr. Brian Moree, was sworn in as the new Chief Justice of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas on Wednesday, 12 June, 2019. Mr. Moree, held the position as Senior Partner at Mckinney, Bancroft and Hughes, Counsel and Attorneys – at – Law, New Providence. He led the litigation and dispute resolution area and the financial…