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Atomic Energy Agency advocates policy on safety in Nigeria

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(FILES) This file photo taken on March 24, 2016 shows International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano posing for a photographer at the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna on March 24, 2016.<br />UN atomic watchdog head Yukiya Amano said on September 19, 2016 that he will seek a third term in office beyond 2017, saying the agency needs “continuity” to face difficult times ahead. / AFP PHOTO / JOE KLAMAR

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team have urged the Federal Government to establish a national policy on safety with legal framework that conforms with the IAEA safety standards.

The team of IAEA and IRRS were respectively led by Peter Johnson, a director of IAEA division of radiation and waste safety and Lamberto Matteocci, Technical Coordinator for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection at the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research.

The IRRS missions are designed to strengthen the effectiveness of the national regulatory infrastructure for nuclear and radiation safety, while recognising the responsibility of each state to ensure safety.

They made the recommendation to the federal government in its report after a 10-day mission to assess the regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety as well as the existing infrastructure in Nigeria.

While making presentation on the teams’ findings, recommendations and suggestions, the IAEA leader, Peter Johnson, further said that the government should ensure that the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NNRA) is truly independent and free from influences in its decision- making.

According to him, “The NNRA should carry out an analysis of all competencies needed to cover its responsibilities, and develop and implement a human resource and training plan.

“The regulatory body should ensure that all facilities and activities have a valid authorization and establish and implement an enforcement policy to respond to noncompliance.”

The team encouraged the government amend its action plan to account for any new issues of the recommendations and suggestions and to make the report open to the public.

However, the IRRS team leader, Lamberto Matteoci, said the team recognised the strong commitment of Nigeria to improving nuclear and radiation safety. He expressed believes that the outcome of the mission would be of great help to Nigeria in order to enhance its national regulatory framework.

Among the findings of the team include that Nigeria makes extensive use of radiation sources in medical industrial applications as well as in science research; has research reactor used for the  analysis of materials and trainings; has decided to include nuclear power in its energy mix to meet an increasing demand for electricity and support economic development.

While responding, the NNRA Director General, Prof. Lawrence Dim, pledged that the federal government would work with the IAEA to develop a work plan for the implementation of the mission’s recommendations and suggestions.


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