Specialised radiation safety equipment and four radiometric mobile laboratories have been donated to our border guards as part of an international technical assistance project entitled Modernising the System of Counteracting Illegal Movement of Nuclear and Radioactive Materials across the State Border of the Republic of Belarus (RADBEL). Costing $1m, an agreement was signed last July between Japan’s Technical Secretariat of the Committee on Co-operation for the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the State Border Committee of Belarus.
The event was attended by the Chairman of the State Border Committee, Igor Rachkovsky, joined by the Executive Director of the Technical Secretariat of the Committee on Co-operation for the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of Japan, Hajime Sasaki, and the Charge d’Affaires ad interim of Japan to Belarus, Kiyoshi Matsuzaki.
Mr. Rachkovsky stresses that such laboratories are essential for public safety, enabling us to monitor and evaluate the radioactivity of food and cargo (and people) crossing the Belarusian border. He notes that ten dangerous cargoes were detained at the Belarusian border last year, forbidden entry as they posed an objective threat of radioactive contamination.
Speaking of international collaboration, Mr. Rachkovsky explains that, despite everything, Japan has fulfilled its obligations under the RADBEL project. “We are deeply saddened by the Japanese tragedy and are ready to send our specialists to help at any moment,” he asserts.
Mr. Sasaki underlines that Japan is aware of the work conducted by Belarusian border guards to prevent radiation contamination and is confident that the implementation of the RADBEL project will promote an integrated system to combat radioactive contamination.
The RADBEL project envisages the creation of strategic mobile laboratories able to offer a prompt response to illegal smuggling of nuclear and radioactive materials across the border. Moreover, simplified border crossing checkpoints are to be further developed, with coastguard boats and aircraft equipped with contemporary monitoring units.