04 May 2021
Madagascar became the seventh Southern African state to install the Information Tracking System, developed by Software Company Ltd., under the EU Project 5.01 15B: Support to Southern African States in Nuclear Safety and Safeguards. Madagascar’s participation in the Project is guided by the national nuclear regulator – the Institut National des Sciences et Techniques Nucléaires (INSTN-Madagascar).
Preliminary training on the use of the system with two participants from INSTN took place on 21st and 22nd April 2021. The regular training was carried out remotely from April 23rd through April 29th with 11 participants from five different organizations: Centre de Fusion d’Informations Maritimes (CFIM); INSTN; and the transport operators SOCOTEC; RIO TINTO Qit Madagascar Minerals; and LAGEOTEC.
The list of participants is indicative of the two specific features of Madagascar as part of the ITS. The first one is the presence of experts from the Maritime Information Fusion Centre, a key institution that comprises representatives of several government agencies with a stake in CBRN security. CFIM is the designated focal point for the Indian Ocean Regional Information System (IORIS) platform, a web-based maritime coordination and information-sharing tool available for regional and national multi-agency use. In its primary function, IORIS provides maritime centres with a means to plan and coordinate maritime operations, also offering command and control functions for crisis/incident management. Information Fusion centres are also able to use the tool to share information and distribute enriched data. Therefore, ITS established through CFIM a link between the road and sea transport that may facilitate complementarity of action and multiply its efficiency.
Secondly, a group of the trainees came of operators, from mining and transportation companies that serve as consignees in the radioactive material delivery chain. Madagascar has no reactor or nuclear power generations. It has only radiological applications in medicine, industry and research. There is mining of monazite ores for export. Antananarivo faces the challenge to revise its the legal framework. The existing Law deals only with safety matters. In the new draft – to be submitted to Parliament in October 2021 – security, safeguards and responsibility are being incorporated. The operators are the main addressee of security requirements, therefore their involvement as stakeholders in ITS application is extremely important.
Like with other Francophone nations, Software Company Ltd. conducted the training in Madagascar in French. Experts from the developer presented all modules of the system. They received exciting feedback and discussed future modifications in the platform with the stakeholders in line with their needs.
The results were excellent, stated Mr. Nikolay Palov, CEO, Software Company, in his closing remarks at the certificate handing ceremony. Ninety percent of the participants scored 75 percent or more at the exit exam.
Dr Joseph Lucien Zafimanjato, Director, Radiological Safety and Nuclear Security, INSTN, thanked the European Union, ISTC and Software Company for the useful assistance and valuable technical support that will increase both the human resources capacity and the technical capability of Madagascar. The joining of two monitoring systems – inland, ITS, and maritime, IORIS, – on the territory of the island will allow the country play increasingly important regional role in nuclear safety and security.