This statement is issued by The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Group Necsa)

Date:  05 June 2018

A minor technical problem at NTP Radioisotopes SOC, a subsidiary of the Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), triggered safety protocols according to which medical isotope production was halted temporarily. People, property and the environment remained safe at all times during the event.

Necsa is a world leader in medical nuclear production. Production was suspended on Thursday, 31 May 2018, immediately after a slight hydrogen excess was detected in one of the production hotcells.

Necsa upholds global best practice in nuclear safety. Safe management of nuclear material and technologies is paramount under our licence. Necsa is required by the licence to monitor and report to the regulator on all incidents. As such the incident was reported immediately to the regulator.

Group CEO, Mr Phumzile Tshelane, commended staff for NTP’s impressive performance. “On 14 May, before a crowd of 1000 people from 72 countries, Necsa received a prestigious award at the annual AtomExpo in Sochi, Russia (site of the 2014 Winter Olympics) for the world’s best non-power project. Necsa was described as the world’s best nuclear medicine company. The awards committee praised Necsa’s contribution to world peace in recognition of it maintaining uninterrupted production while its scientists converted the Safari reactor from using bomb grade uranium to civilian grade.”

Chairperson, Dr Kelvin Kemm, said “The Necsa Group operates strictly in accordance with its prescribed governance framework and regulations. We are in the humanitarian business of saving lives and will resume production of medical isotopes as soon as safety protocols allow”. Dr Kemm added “I fully support the CEO’s decision to suspend production temporarily.”   

Tshelane explained that “Safety is Necsa’s highest priority. Internal oversight for Quality Control, Quality Assurance and Nuclear Safety is monitored and strengthened continually. We observe regular compliance and assurance exercises.”

-End-

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms Nikelwa Tengimfene

General Manager: Corporate Communication & Stakeholder Relations

Group South African Nuclear Energy Corporation SOC Limited (Necsa)

Tel:      +27 12 305 4454

Cell:         +82 574 5495

E-mail: nikelwa.tengimfene@necsa.co.za