No radiation hazards seen in Sultanate

MUSCAT, Dec 1 – The Sultanate doesn’t have any dose of radiation that is a cause for worry. The assurance came from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA), which allayed fears that Oman was exposed to radiation hazards. “Readings from the Oman’s National Radiation Monitoring Network and Early Warning System reveal the radiation level in the Sultanate is well below the internationally accepted danger levels,” said a ministry official. He was referring to reports being circulated on social media that radiation level in some places in Oman was high.

“A highly qualified team with specialists in the field gathered samples from areas mentioned in the reports. They are being analysed in the ministry’s laboratory,” he said. Earlier, the ministry, citing the study, said in a statement that people are not exposed to any level of radiation as reported on social media. “Officials from the ministry have conducted a follow-up study on the matter to ascertain authenticity of the report and the presence of radiation in soil, water and grass in the regions mentioned in the report,” said the statement. The officials, after evaluating the samples, found no adverse radiation impact on humans and the environment. “There is no need for any concern. The radiation levels in the Sultanate are well below the safe level,” the ministry affirmed in the statement.

The ministry official said the Sultanate is strengthening its preparedness to combat radiological hazards, should they arise in the future, with the setting up of more radiation monitoring stations. “This is in line with completion of first phase of study on developing infrastructure for a national nuclear emergency plan, including radiation monitoring network and early warning system project in the country,” he said. In all, 16 more radiation monitoring stations are expected to be operational by end of this year at different locations.

In June last, Mohammed bin Salim al Toobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs, had said the new locations for setting up the stations have been identified. The design will be on par with standards for the early warning system set by International Atomic Energy Association. In early 2015, the ministry upgraded its eight monitoring stations which are now connected to the main hub in Al Khuwair.

SAMUEL KUTTY