NNSA partners with Jordan to remove irradiators

November 1, 2023, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of Radiological Security (ORS), part of the Department of Energy, announced this week that it partnered with Jordan's Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission (EMRC) to replace all of Jordan’s high-activity cesium-137 irradiators with X-ray technology.

With the recent completion of a project at the Jordan University Hospital–Cell Therapy Center, the Middle Eastern country now uses only X-rays for blood irradiation and research. To aid in the transition, ORS assisted with procurement and installation of X-ray irradiators and the removal and secure storage of cesium-137 sources.

This action has reduced the risk of radiological terrorism and potential hazards from ionizing radiation exposure to individuals and the environment, according to the NNSA.

They said it: “We value our long-term partnership with Jordan and commend everyone involved for making the transition to X-ray technology, which offers permanent risk reduction and increased blood throughput for medical purposes,” said Corey Hinderstein, the NNSA’s deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation.

Added Kristin Hirsch, ORS director, “Jordan’s commitment to reducing radiological risk serves as a great example for other countries in the region and around the world.”

Zeyad Al Saaydeh, chief commissioner and chief executive office engineer for Jordan, commented, “Our agencies worked collaboratively throughout the entire process, and we look forward to future collaborations to support regional and global adaptation of alternative technologies.”

U.S. efforts: The nearly 20-year relationship between the NRC and EMRC began with ORS providing security systems for the cesium-based irradiators that have now been replaced. ORS’s work in Jordan and across the globe directly supports the U.S. National Security Strategy, which calls for the United States to “lead the world in coordinated efforts to lock down nuclear and radiological materials and prevent terrorist acquisition,” according to an NNSA statement.

And help from: The work in Jordan was also supported by a donation from the United Kingdom’s Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, now known as the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

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