A general view of downtown Beirut, Lebanon October 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jekaterina Saveljeva
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Its shipment – comprising 36 cobalt sources, each of which was potent enough to kill a person within minutes – was the first batch of radioactive material to leave Lebanon for safe disposal. With hundreds of legitimate, legal uses of radioactive materials in everything from health care to industrial production and agriculture, Lebanon has long been an importer of radioactive sources.At present, only three of 45 identified radioactive sources remain in Lebanon and the Lebanese Atomic Energy Commission is hoping to declare the country free of radioactive material free by May 2018, with the help of funds from Germany, France, the U.S. and Canada, delivered via the IAEA.To avoid the import of further radioactive sources, the Lebanese Atomic Energy Commission has established a set of regulations that oblige companies exporting such sources to Lebanon to pay for the repatriation of the source when its work here is completed.While Lebanon is scheduled to be soon free of all 45 known radioactive sources, the Lebanese Atomic Energy Commission does not exclude the possibility there may be more, as yet undiscovered, sources.
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