Customs authority has developed procedures for handling the potential import and export of radioactive materials and of goods having radio-active content. In the case of import or export of consignments that have the presence of radioactive materials, customs does not allow clearance until the radioactive materials are removed.
In order to detect if there is any radioactive material or content in any consignment, Chittagong Custom House has installed two types of radiation detection devices, such as the Radioactive Portal Monitoring (RPM) and the portable equipment at four gates of Chittagong port. This radiation detection equipment is used to scan cargo containers for nuclear and other radioactive materials. The equipment deters, detects, and interdicts illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive materials that might move through the Port of Chittagong. This equipment has been installed under the Megaports Initiative funded by the United States of America.
All vehicles/trucks entering or leaving Chittagong Port through these four gates has to go through these scanner (this is the primary inspection). If the customs officials hear any alarm/detection sound, when the vehicles pass through the scanner, customs conduct another inspection (the secondary inspection) using hand held detector (known as personal radiation detector-PRD). The hand held detectors detect radioactive materials (if any in the consignment) and provides reading on a small monitor indicating the name of the radioactive stuff.
If the secondary inspection reveals the presence of radioactive materials in the consignment, Customs requests the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA) to dispose of the consignment. The BAERA’s job is to remove radioactive materials from the consignment. After such removal, Customs allows clearance or release on completion of other formalities.
It is to be noted that the BAERA issues import permit/export permit and NOC for the lawful entry and export of radiation equipment/machinery. As per the Import Policy Order, 2015-2018, Paragraph 26(7), Thorium nitrate classifiable under H.S. Heading 28.34, all items including radio-active chemical/element & isotopes classifiable under HS Headings 28.44 to 28.46, X-ray including radiography or radio therapy apparatus classifiable under H.S. Heading 90.22 and H.S. Codes 9022.19.00, 9022.21.00, 9022.29.00 are importable only with prior permission from the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC).
Usual customs formalities are to be observed to clear these goods in addition to the BAEC/BAERA formalities. It is notable that nuclear reactors and its parts (HS Heading 84.01 & all HS Codes under it) are importable only by BAEC with the clearance of the sponsoring Ministry.