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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

Safety concerns at nuclear plant

The regulator will meet with company representatives this week to monitor progress.

The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) shut down a radio isotope cancer treatment production line at the Pelindaba nuclear plant 10 days ago because of safety concerns.

Pharmaceutical firm NTP Radioisotopes, operated by the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), and responsible for manufacturing radioisotopes used for cancer treatment and exported to other countries – has since suspended three senior executives.

The production line has not yet re-opened and, according to reports, Necsa is losing more than R3.5 million a day. “We suspended the production line this month and have not shut down the entire facility,” the regulator’s spokesperson Gino Moonsamy said. The line, which produces radio chemicals had, thankfully not impacted workers and no evacuation in this regard was needed, he added.

“We found that safety procedures were violated. We were lucky that there was no over exposure to workers. The site is continually inspected and monitored, and the company also has its own measures in place.”

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