X-Ray-Based Scanners of Customs May Pose Radiation Risk to Drivers

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) fears that there is a risk of exposure to radiation to workers and drivers during the operational phase of x-ray-based scanners.

According to FBR’s report on Pakistan Raises Revenue Project (PRRP) funded by the World Bank, the installation of x-ray-based scanners and other related sensitive equipment requires proper buildings without structural weaknesses that may pose a risk of failure in the event of any natural disaster such as earthquakes or floods. Cracks in the walls provide passage for dust, rodents, etc., which can cause damage to sensitive equipment or lower the performance of scanners.

The current technology of scanners has a high standard of protection for users and those who come in contact with radiation. The x-rays produced are less harmful in modern scanners while safety features also include irradiation only when the container reaches a certain predefined point in the scanner. This allows only the container vessel to be irradiated with x-rays thus protecting the driver. Nevertheless, the risk exists in using such scanners that need mitigation.

The operation of x-ray-based scanners is regulated by the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA). Therefore, PNRA requires scanner users to obtain a license after fulfilling certain requirements as mentioned in the PNRA regulations. Without licensing from PNRA, Pakistan Customs will not be able to operate the x-ray-based scanners, FBR added.

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