Under the patronage of the President of Beirut Arab University, Prof. Amr Galal El Adawi, the Faculty of Science held on March 28th a workshop on “Harmless use of nuclear and radiation energy” in collaboration with the Lebanese Atomic Energy Commission (LAEC) - National Council for Scientific Research. The event took place in Ali Rashed Hall, Beirut campus and was attended by Prof. Amr El-Adawi, President of BAU, Prof. Ramadan Awad, Dean of the Faculty of Science, BAU Deans and academic staff, LAEC’ Director, Prof. Bilal Nsouli along with key members from the commission, interested audience from BAU and other Lebanese universities, in addition to a crowd of enthusiastic physics high school students.
The workshop started with the Lebanese Anthem and BAU Anthem followed by the Faculty’ Assistant Dean, Dr. Ghada Khawaja’s speech. She pointed out that this workshop was held to highlight the remarkable contribution of nuclear and radiation applications in so many areas of our lives and to raise as well public awareness on the health effects of radiation and shed the light on the importance of radiation protection field. The Faculty’ Dean, Pr. Ramadan Awad, noted that the tremendous development in the nuclear technology has triggered demands and need for more medical physicists and radiation protection officers in the Lebanese labor market. To meet those needs, he said, the Faculty of science has established first a diploma and then two Master degree programs in radiation protection and in medical physics, recognizing the LAEC role in providing technical and academic support. Prof. Amr El-Adawi, reiterated the importance of establishing such workshop at BAU to promote the peaceful use of nuclear and radiation energy that contribute to the socioeconomic development.
The program featured talks from distinguished experts in the fields of nuclear and radiation physics from Lebanon, Serbia, Tunisia and Egypt.
Prof. Bilal Nsouli, the Director of LAEC, underlined first the role of the commission’ role in ensuring environmental radiation control radiation safety support, nuclear security and safeguards in Lebanon in compliance with the latest IAEA safety standards and guides. Afterwards, Prof. Daw Khalefa, Director of Scientific Affairs of the Arab Atomic Energy Agency (AAEA) elaborated on the role of agency in strengthening the Arab countries strategy in peaceful use of atomic energy.
After a coffee break, Dr. Mohamad Haidar, Director of Nuclear Medicine Division and Cyclotron Facility, Department of Diagnostic Radiology at AUBMC shed the light on recent breakthroughs in the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer patients using a targeted radionuclide approach as he discussed a seminar entitled “Emerging of Theranostic in Lebanon”. Next, Dr. Mohamed Salem, Expert in Radiation Protection at the Faculty of Science expanded on the “Uses of Radiation in Daily Life, “Radiation World”.
Pr. Rodoljub D. Simovic, Editor in Chief of Nuclear Technology & Radiation Protection Journal at the Institute of Nuclear Sciences VINCA, Serbia, discussed a seminar entitled: “An assessment of the radiation exposure in dwellings achieved by the RESRAD-BUILD code”. The last speaker, Dr. Sabbah Hammoury, Head of Medical Physics and Radiotherapy Department at Alexandria Ayadi Almostakbl Oncology Center focused in his talk on the role, status, education, training and recognition of a medical physicist in cancer radiation therapy and stressed on the need for well-trained medical physicists in the rapidly growing field of radiation oncology.
The workshop recommendations were:
- The necessity of complying with the laws governing the circulation and use of radioactive materials and devices that produce radiation in line with the recommendations of the International Scientific Committee for Radiological Protection and the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The need for coordination among the legislative, executive and supervisory bodies in the country in the field of protection from ionizing radiation to standardize national policies, procedures and regulations for radiation protection.
- Foster exchange between radiation physicists through promoting seminars and conferences in the field of radiation physics and support the specialization in radiation protection and medical physics fields.
- Given that radiation is perceived as frightening and risks are often exaggerated, much work is needed to work on raising public awareness and disseminating accurate information about the health effect of radiation exposure, how dangerous and how to deal with it.
- Academic programs for medical physicists across Lebanese universities should be unified nationally and medical physics standards of practice should be developed and approved by the ministry of health. The Lebanese Atomic Energy Commission and Beirut Arab University could cooperate with the ministry of health in this matter.
- A radiation protection officer position should be assigned in every institution, research center or hospital involving the use of ionizing radiation to apply and implement the Basic Safety Standards in upon occupational exposure to ionizing radiation.
At the end of the workshop, the organizing committee announced the first three winning entries among the high school students who have participated in ‘the Medical Physics Essay Competition’. The three winner teams (1st Hadi Khalaf team and 2nd Nihal Soubra winning teams from Hariri High School II and 3rd winning team, Paul Al Haddad team from Lebanese Evangelical School) wrote the best essays about the accomplishments in the medical physics field which had the most impact on public health care.