National Nuclear Safety Administration
Ministry of Ecology and Environment: Ensure both the “Fight against COVID-19” and the “Protection of nuclear” to actively aid the production of protective materials for the pandemic

April 15 this year is the fifth National Security Education Day. The Ministry of Ecology and Environment held a regular press conference of which the topic was “Nuclear Safety” on the morning of April 15. Jiang Guang, the head of the Department of Radiation Source Safety Regulation, suggested on the press conference that during the epidemic, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (the National Nuclear Safety Administration) firmly carried out the arrangement of the coordination of epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development, adhered to both the “Fight against COVID-19” and the “Protection of nuclear”, strengthened the service and supply for industry, and actively aided the production of protective materials for the pandemic, which contributed the power of “Nuclear” for the fight against epidemic prevention and control.

Referring to the works that the National Nuclear Safety Administration had been carried out in the service and supply of radiation safety regulation during the epidemic, Jiang Guang indicated that three aspects had been involved up to date:

Firstly, the radiation safety permission of image equipment for pneumonia diagnose had been exempted to ease the burden of medical institutions. A Notice on Well Conducting the Radiation Safety Regulation Service and Supply for Medical Institutions in the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 was released on February 1 to ensure the diagnose equipment could take effect at the very beginning during the epidemic. Take Anhui Province for example, totally 44 sets of X-ray equipment have been exempted by mid-March, and over 500 medical institutions have delayed their submission of annual reports. In addition, the permission of more than 1,000 sets of equipment all over the country would be exempted during the epidemic. Meanwhile, all the levels of ecology and environment departments are required to well coordinate supervision and inspection in the process of regulation, realising assistance without causing any trouble.

Secondly, the advantage of information had been taken to actively cooperate with the emergency production of protective materials. Jiang Guang said that face masks, protective suits, and disposal medical products should be sterilized and disinfected before usage. However, in China, such products were mostly disinfected by ethylene oxide which had toxicity, and the residue on products took time to release.

“Time is life during the epidemic. Sterilization with irradiation should be applied to production lines. There is no need to unwrap the package of products, because the irradiation could pass through products to sterilize, making the time of sterilization shorten from 7-10 days to less than 1 day.” Jiang Guang added that Type I source which was directly supervised by the National Nuclear Safety Administration had been applied to all irradiation equipment. After receiving relevant applications, they would provide the relevant units with the information of over 100 irradiation facilities within two hours, making the irradiation sterilization technology play an important role in winning the fight of epidemic prevention and control.

Thirdly, “All services in one access” had been greatly advanced to actively explore new supervision modes. For example, the procedures of permission review during the epidemic had been optimized; the process of “All services in one access” of nuclear safety equipment, human resources qualifications, and the import and export approval of radioisotope had been accelerated; the previous “Threshold” had been turned to “Leverage”, realizing that all the materials could be submitted and approved through the network; the modes of video supervision and recording supervision had been explored at the same time. Thus, with the premise of safety, it sped up the resumption of work and production.