Govt counsels oil industry operators on nuclear regulations

Diezani-Alison-Madueke20 August 2013, Abuja – The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has called on operators and service providers in the oil and gas industry to cooperate with the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, NNRA, in its mandate to ensure effective monitoring of nuclear application in the industry.

Delivering a Keynote Address at the Technical Meeting on Regulating Nuclear Application in the Oil and Gas Sector- Challenges and Stakeholders Expectations, organized by the NNRA in Abuja at the weekend, Alison-Madueke noted that as the biggest importer of radio-active materials in the country, petroleum industry operators must conform to basic safety and security standards.

The minister, who is also the Chairperson of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, explained that nuclear applications in the petroleum industry in Nigeria are not new, with some practitioners having about half a century of experience.

She said some companies have close to 200 radioactive sources in some instances noting that these sources are high-risk sources and may cause serious concern if control over them is lost or inadequate.

“It was for concerns such as these that, amongst others, led to the promulgation of the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act (Act) in 1995, at the behest of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the subsequent establishment of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) in 2001. Since its inception, the NNRA has been supervised by – the Ministry of Petroleum Resources,” the Minister stated.

While commending the NNRA for organising the technical session, Alison-Madueke noted that the Agency is responsible for Nuclear Safety and Radiological Protection Regulation. And it is also saddled with the mandate of ensuring the protection of life and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

“The need for the NNRA to safely regulate nuclear applications by bringing them effectively under control cannot be overemphasized. This shall also ensure the safety and health of personnel involved with their usage, as well as the safety of other members of the public,” She said.

She added that as member of the IAEA, and as a party to a number of binding and non-binding international treaties, conventions and agreements – is under obligation to properly regulate and control nuclear materials and radioactive sources.

“This is not only for the safety of the Nigerian public, but also to prevent these materials from diversion to illicit uses,’’ Alison-Madueke explained.

The Minister remarked that since its inception, the NNRA has taken steps to emplace a proper regulatory framework, within the context of its enabling Act, to effectively fulfill its major regulatory functions.

She said the agency is able to achieve this through a system of registration, licensing and inspection of practices involving ionizing radiation and the overall enforcement of compliance with the provisions of the Act.

She identified some of the specific regulations to include
·Nigerian Basic Ionizing Radiation Regulations (2003);
·Nigerian Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources Regulations, 2006;
·Nigerian Transportation of Radioactive Sources Regulations, 2006;
·Nigeria Radiation Safety in Industrial Radiography Regulations (2006);
·Nigeria Radioactive Waste Management Regulations (2006),
·Nigerian Radiation Safety in Nuclear Well Logging Regulations, 2008; and,
·Nigerian Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials Regulations, 2008.

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