Necsa is an organisation that has fully committed itself to be environment-friendly through our continuous environmental monitoring programme. Necsa is involved in research that helps promote a clean and healthy environment for all South Africans. A comprehensive Environmental Monitoring Programme is in place to meet the requirements of the Air Quality Act, The Nuclear Energy Act, the National Environmental Management Act and the National Water Act. Necsa analyses a variety of samples, from plant material to milk and wastewater, even monitoring air filter samples to ensure a clean and safe environment for the community. The samples are taken on site at Pelindaba and Vaalputs waste disposal site, as well as in the surrounding area, and water and fish from the nearby Hartbeespoortdam and Crocodile River is monitored on an ongoing basis. Resource usage, waste generation and impacts on media and ecology are also monitored.
Necsa regards the nuclear safety of paramount importance, especially in light of the advancement of the analyses of nuclear power. At Necsa we regard it our responsibility to secure and protect people and the environment from potential damage.
Necsa site alarm test notice In order to test the public address system and to acquaint all tenants, personnel with Necsa’s site emergency alarm, the alarm is activated for a short while on each first Monday of a month. If the Monday falls on a public holiday, it will be tested on the following Monday .Depending on the wind speed and direction it is possible that neighbours can hear the alarm. An SMS is sent as a reminder monthly, if you want to receive it, forward your detail by SMS or WhatsApp as: "ADD" to 081 481 7002 This is done according to the NNR's regulation to make sure all people on site can hear the alarm system.
2019 Dates for Necsa’s site alarm to be tested
Also see our Public Safety Information Forum page.
What to do in case of an Emergency at Necsa Necsa 24 hour emergency number: (012) 305 3333 (Ambulance and Fire)
- Stay calm
- Go indoors (Staying indoors provides significant protection)
- Close all doors and windows
- Switch off air conditioners
- Tune into Radio Jacaranda (94.2FM) or Motsweding (89.6-91FM) for instructions
- Periodic announcements shall be made concerning the emergency status and actions that must be taken. If it is necessary to evacuate a specific area, an announcement stating the safest route shall be made
- Only use the telephone if it is absolutely necessary since it may be necessary to contact you by telephone
- BE A GOOD neighbour. If you see anyone outdoors please advise him/her to take shelter
- Help the deaf and disabled
- If you are travelling by car at the time of the emergency close all your windows and air vents and leave the affected area
In case Necsa’s Telkom landlines are not working, please dial: 083 639 0366 / 082 806 3611 Please see this document below for instructions in other languages. Emergency Procedure V2
Mental Health at the workplace
Tackling mental health in the workplace
In 2017, a survey by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) revealed that just one in six employees with mental illness said they felt comfortable disclosing their condition to their manager.
This despite the fact that most employees take time off work during the year due to mental illness.
The study highlights the extent of workplace stigma around mental illness and raises a red flag that more education and training is needed for managers, who may want to help, but don’t feel adequately trained, or indeed, mandated to do so.
This is especially critical in light of the fact that mental illness in the workplace is on the rise. A combination of factors including rising job insecurity, AI, and high job demands are contributing to this epidemic according to a Deloitte report on mental health and well-being. The report also highlights that workplace stigma and perceptions of mental health are exacerbating many of these challenges.
Understanding and recognising mental health
Mental health issues are prevalent in most workplaces.
Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect a person’s mood, thinking and behaviour. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviours.
Mental illness in the workplace leads to decreased productivity, increased sick-related absenteeism, poor work quality, wasted materials and even compromised workplace safety etc.
In many instances mental disorders “fly under the radar”, going undiagnosed and untreated until the employee is suffering severely.
Main causes for mental health problems:
- Physical Causes (Head injury & substance abuse)
- Social and Environmental Causes (poverty, unemployment, social isolation, family disorganisation, work and personal stress)
- Psychological Factors (Coping with past or present abuse, trauma, bereavement or divorce
- Family History (genetic inheritance)
An individual may suffer from one or more of the following:
- Feeling sad or down
- Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
- Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
- Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
- Withdrawal from friends and activities
- Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
- Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
- Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
- Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Major changes in eating habits
- Excessive anger, hostility or violence
- Suicidal thinking
Mental Health Cluster
Trauma & Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Work stress/ burnout, Bipolar/mood disorders/ psychiatric, Anxiety/ Panic/ Social Phobia, Drug & alcohol abuse
Causes, triggers and contributory factors
Death/ loss: parents; family members, spouse, child; Exam issues – Anxiety, Abuse by family members, Traumatic childhood experiences, Rape, Domestic violence, Family inheritance
Extended family member suicide, Work issue - Lack of recognition and appreciation, Work changes & restructuring, Separation/ divorce
Education is paramount and the EAP and medical Services are there to assist. Prevention is better than cure, thus it is crucial to identify problems early and seek treatment. Many mental disorders can be managed successfully In order for an employee to get treatment, it is essential to reduce stigma and shame so that they do not feel the need to suffer in silence.
Employers “cannot afford to bury their heads in the sand”. Identification of problems is key and that managers should be better trained to deal with issues of mental health and to support staff who are suffering.
Moreover, they must work together to reduce stigma in the workplace by speaking out about the risks of mental illness and to an extent normalising this. Prevention is better than cure.
- Pay attention to warning signs.
- Get routine medical care.
- Get help when you need it.
- Take good care of yourself.
- Provide support to others who are affected
Remember: Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of
James E Lovett states the following in his book, Nuclear Materials: Accountability, Management, and Safeguards. "Safeguard is a collective term that comprises those measures designed to guard against the diversion of material such as source and special nuclear material from uses permitted by law or treaty, and to give a timely indication of possible diversion or credible assurance that no diversion has occurred."
The measures designed, refer to:
- Containment measures, which means locking and sealing it in a safe or vault.
- Surveillance measures, which means using a camera or use a guard to watch over it.
- Nuclear Material Accounting. This entails data capturing, recording, reporting and verification activities.
The security of material is also associated with safeguards and not only the safety of the people working with the material.
History of Safeguards
South Africa acceded to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) on 15 July 1991 and signed a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 16 September 1991. According to the CSA, SA had to submit a report on all its nuclear material (uranium, plutonium and thorium). This was SA's initial report that was submitted to the IAEA on 31 October 1991. Inspectors of the IAEA started verifying SA's declaration in November 1991 and an IAEA technical team performed a complete investigation during 1992 - 1993. The report to the United Nations stated unequivocally as follows: "No evidence has been found casting doubt on the veracity of the initial declaration".
To enable South Africa to fulfill its obligations relating to the CSA, the Nuclear Energy Act, Act 131 of 1993 was put into effect and it stated that the then Atomic Energy Corporation of South Africa (AEC) acted as National Authority to implement safeguards. This function was delegated to the Department Licensing and Safeguards, which was ultimately transformed to the Department Nuclear Non-Proliferation (NNP) within the AEC. Implementation of safeguards requires the establishment of a State System of Accounting and Control of nuclear material (SSAC). This entails that every facility reports changes in its inventories to NNP every time it occurs. The IAEA's inspectors visit South Africa monthly to inspect various facilities and also to verify changes in inventories.
In 1999 the Department NNP was discontinued and the responsible division, Division Safeguards was transferred to the Department Quality and Engineering which then became Quality, Engineering and Safeguards (QES). Since 24 February 2000, the new Nuclear Energy Act, Act 46 of 1999 was implemented. It states that the Minister of Department Minerals and Energy (DME) is the National Authority for the implementation of safeguards. The day-to-day safeguards activities were however delegated via the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, Necsa (previously AEC), to the Division Safeguards. During the following years, a computer-aided system was developed to support reporting and currently, the reports are being transferred to Vienna (the IAEA) via encrypted e-mail. To provide assurance and that there are continuous improvements with respect to the application of safeguards, a quality management system (QMS) has been developed where the requirements of safeguards and principles of ISO 9001:2015 are integrated into a QMS applied on State and facility level.
The ultimate objective of safeguards is to provide assurance to the international community via the IAEA that the State is complying with Non-Proliferation and peaceful undertakings and that diversion of significant quantities would be detected timeously.
Inspections are carried out by designated IAEA Safeguards Inspectors accompanied by National Safeguards Inspectors. Inspections take place on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis, depending on the types and quantities of nuclear materials within the various facilities. The inventories of all the facilities are verified annually during a Physical Inventory Verification (PIV).
Physical Inventory Verification (PIV)
Once a year, during October, all South African facilities take stock of the nuclear material under their control, i.e. a physical inventory taking (PIT). The IAEA then sends its inspectors, normally four, to verify each facility's declaration and nuclear material inventories. This verified inventory then forms the beginning quantity for the new so-called material balance period (MBP), i.e. the period this September to following year September. In the case of the Koeberg facilities, verification activities are performed on an eighteen-month cycle which is linked to the scheduled maintenance and reloading Outage schedule.
After completion of verification activities, final reports are prepared and submitted to the IAEA. These comprise a physical inventory listing (PIL) and a material balance report (MBR). The former report is a summary of the facility's inventory and the latter a summary of all the changes in inventory during the past MBP. The IAEA would reconcile reported data with inspection and PIV data. When everything matches, the material balance for each facility is closed for the past year.
Nuclear material reporting is a very important component of the total package of control measures to ensure that nuclear material is used for peaceful purposes only. For example, the research on radioactive isotopes (Radioisotopes) in laboratories that are shielded in transport containers - radioactive isotopes and sources could be used in industrial instruments and for non-destructive examination.
The possession of all inventories of nuclear materials, and consequent changes thereof at Necsa facilities, as well as at private companies have to be declared to the IAEA in prescribed formats. This is in accordance with the Agreement between the Government of South Africa and the IAEA (INFCIRC/394), which prescribes the Safeguards reporting requirements.
This includes inventory changes constituting the increase and/or decrease of nuclear material (receipts/shipments), process losses/gains and even the establishment of better values once accurately characterized, the latter as accurate as to the nearest tenth of a gram for special nuclear material. It is also important to ascertain that every user/possessor of nuclear material is duly authorized in terms of the Nuclear Energy Act to possess and use the nuclear material.
Since October 1991 all inventory changes must be reported monthly within 30 days after the occurrence and also annually, after the completion of the physical inventory verification. Material balances and inventory lists are to be submitted to the IAEA for evaluation. Safeguards Information Systems of the Safeguards Division started off by submitting manually prepared reports. This has progressed to the current status of having developed a fully computerized system to encompass electronic quality checks and error detection and transmitting accounting reports via encrypted electronic mail enhancing the all-important timeliness and correct requirement of nuclear material accounting.
Installation and Configuration
Development of the unattended RMS for timeliness purposes was initiated for field testing (with reference to the implementation of Programme 93+2), using a land-based communication network between the IAEA Headquarters in Vienna and Pelindaba site in South Africa. The RMS made use of cameras with motion detection and unattended remotely monitored sensors such as magnetic vault door switches and a network of "seismic" sensors along the walls. User and technical requirements were jointly resolved between SNL, ATG, US DoE, IAEA and Necsa. The user requirements included review stations at both IAEA Headquarters in Vienna and at the Pelindaba field office, authentication of data, encryption of data, traceability through file number, date and time identification, motion and trigger events to initiate alarm signals and images and sufficient storage space at the camera and server in case of transmission failure.
Broader Conclusion and Integrated Safeguards (IS)
For States with Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements (CSA) and additional protocols (AP):
- When the broader safeguards conclusion regarding the non-diversion of declared nuclear material and the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities can be drawn, Safeguards measures can be ‘optimized’.
- This optimization of all safeguards measures available under CSA and AP is known as IS.
- On 25 March 2011 the Secretariat of the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded for the first time that, based upon the evaluation of all the information to the Agency, all the nuclear material in South Africa remained in peaceful activities.
- IS commenced in South Africa on 1 July 2015.
Utilities Provision and Distribution
Necsa gets its electricity supply from Eskom as well as Tshwane Municipality Different Utilities are utilised within the Necsa site, which includes but are not limited to steam, compressed air, liquid nitrogen, and water.
Necsa Utilities support the provision of required utilities through the relevant authorities All waste and emissions are in accordance with the relevant legislation.