Malaysia, Thailand first two countries to test joint field exercise module by IAEA

02 Nov 2016 / 15:26 H.

    ALOR STAR: Malaysia and Thailand are making history as the first two countries to test the Joint Field Exercise draft module, formulated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expert team.

    The module is called Nuclear Security Series Technical Guidance document, 'Preparation, Conduct and Evaluation of Exercise for Detection of and Response to Acts involving Nuclear and Other Radioactive Material out of Regulatory Control' (NST050).

    In a joint press statement by the Malaysian and Thai authorities today, they said this was the first time the draft module was being tested after being reviewed several times to ensure entirety and wholeness of its mechanism on the field.

    " ... to further improve existing Standard Operating Procedure for response to incidents involving radiological or special nuclear material out of regulatory control through smuggling or illicit transporting of the said material across the border for illegal intended purpose", according to the statement.

    Both countries are taking part in the Joint Table Top Cross Border Nuclear Security Exercise in Alor Star, Kedah and Sadao, Thailand from Oct 31 until Nov 4, with 50 delegation members from Malaysia and 26 from Thailand.

    Among the participating agencies are the Malaysian National Security Council, Malaysian Immigration Department, Malaysian Armed Forces, Prime Minister's Department, Royal Thai Customs, Office of Atom for Peace (OAP), Songkhla Provincial Government and Royal Thai Police.

    In an opening speech today, director-general of the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) Malaysia, Hamrah Mohd Ali said the main purpose of this exercise was to assess the effectiveness of the national nuclear security detection architectures in both countries.

    "This event is not intended to show what abilities we have but rather aims to increase mutual understanding between the two countries when dealing with unauthorised movement of materials out of regulatory control.

    "This intention comes with the hope that the land border that we share is safe and secured from any threat with regard to nuclear and radioactive materials," he said.

    Also present at the ceremony today were OAP deputy secretary-general, Kittisak Chinudomsub and principal assistant of the Malaysia-Thailand Border Coordination Office, Col. Nazeri Ismail.

    Malaysia, Hamrah said, started its efforts to protect the country's points of entry from any threat of illegal movement of nuclear and other radioactive material through the installation of Radiation Portal Monitors (RPM) at the land and air border entry points since 2005.

    Through cooperation between the Royal Malaysian Customs Department and the United States Megaports Initiative, he said two major ports in Malaysia had been equipped with RPM beginning in 2009.

    "We also want to thank IAEA for giving assistance to the installation of four units of RPM in 2011, comprising one unit each at Padang Besar in Perlis and Durian Burung in Kedah, and two units at the Bulk Cargo Gate, West Port, Klang," he said. — Bernama

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