No nuclear waste lands at Walvis Bay Port: /Uirab

WALVIS BAY; The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Namibian Port Authority (Namport), Bisey /Uirab says no nuclear waste or other forms of radioactive materials lands at the ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz.

He said this in a media statement responding to queries from the residents of Walvis Bay’s Narraville residential area, who are opposing the establishment of a storage facility of dangerous goods near the area.

“As per our records, and since the inception of Namport in 1994, no nuclear waste or any other form of radioactive goods has landed at the Namibian ports. The only exception is the export uranium oxide (yellow cake from the Namibian Uranium Mines). Due to the low radiation levels, this cargo is only allowed three days storage in the port before shipment,” he said in a statement.

The CEO said though Namport recognises that the establishment of such a facility has positive spin-offs for Namibia, the ports authority has no direct or indirect interest in the establishment of a hazardous cargo facility intended to be erected by Native Storage Facility.

Narraville residents are strongly opposing the storage of the dangerous goods, including explosives and radioactive material, near the residential area.

The residents made their voices heard on the matter at a community consultation meeting held last week.

The goods would include dangerous goods in various classes: class one being explosives; class two – gases; class three – flammable liquids; class four – flammable solids or substances; class five – oxidising substances; class six – toxic substances; and class seven – radioactive materials.

The companies Native Storage Facility and Enviro Solutions indicated that they have consulted the Walvis Bay local authority, Namport and other stakeholders on collecting all the dangerous goods stored around Walvis Bay and safely storing these in a facility near Narraville.

The facility to be renovated is a communication bunker formerly used by the South African army located less than 30 kilometres south of Walvis Bay. The bunker would be used as a temporary storage facility before the goods are taken to a long-term facility to be built at Farm 58, a few kilometres away from Narraville.

/Uirab further explained that incompatible dangerous goods stored at Namibian ports are stored as per the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code).

He added that special cargo such as class seven cargo (radioactive material), class one cargo (explosives), and class 6.2 cargo (infectious substances) are not allowed to be discharged during the night and may not be stored at ports. This means the cargo must be removed from the ports the same day it lands.

The statement further explained by way of example that an application for the importation of arms and ammunition or explosives must be accompanied by a valid import permit issued by the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) and must be escorted by the police from the ports to its final destination or in case of transit cargo, to the border of the next country.

According to the statement, the Namibian ports handle class one (explosives and small arms and ammunition); class three (fuel and bitumen); class four (batteries containing sodium); class seven (uranium oxide); class eight (batteries containing sulphuric acid); class nine (liquid Not Otherwise Specified) goods and vehicles.