MUSCAT: The Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA) is planning to hire a company to lay the groundwork for establishing the National Radiation Monitoring Network and an Early Warning System.

The move is being taken to strengthen preparedness for radiological emergencies, and is in response to the Council of Ministers’ approval earlier this year on developing infrastructure for a national nuclear emergency plan.

The ministry has issued a tender for specialised consultancy services for setting up monitoring network and an early warning system. The document distribution for the tender ended on October 16, while November 17 is the last date for submission of documents.

Eight international companies have shown interest, which include Canadian SNC Lavalin International, US based non-profit research and development organisation RTI International, European ENVINET, a part of the Nuvia Group and Vienna-based Enconet Consulting among others. The Council of Ministers in May adopted the decisions of the National Steering Committee for Peaceful Nuclear Technology including a review of laws and regulations, the infrastructure requirements of the national nuclear emergency plan and holding a national symposium to prepare for and respond to all radiation emergencies.

The council also passed the allocation of graduate grants and scholarships regarding nuclear radiation safety, activation of air radiation monitoring network and a network to monitor levels of such radiation in soil and water. The steering committee has been working to strengthen the capacity of the sultanate’s preparedness and response to radiological and nuclear emergencies, as well as the regional plan of GCC countries in this regard.

Oman has also been cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency on the use of nuclear technology in areas such as health, agriculture, food and management of water resources.