04 June 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — As the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, PIAB awaits passage in the National Assembly, oil workers have decried the omission of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, NNRA, in the regulation of radioactive materials or devices emitting ionizing radiation by oil firms.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN and its sister union, the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, in its joint position on PIB, said sections 12 and 33 of PIAB omits NNRA provisions in the petroleum licensee obligations and in abandonment, decommissioning and disposal of radioactive materials.
Chairman, PENGASSAN and NUPENG Joint Committee on PIB, Mr. Chika Onuegbu, explained that as petroleum industry uses sealed radioactive sources and radiation generators, NNRA has the overall responsibility for nuclear safety and radiological protection regulation in the country.
Onuegbu advised that the decommissioning, abandonment and/or disposal of radioactive materials or devices emitting ionizing radiation in petroleum operations should be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act.
The oil workers further stated that their position on the petroleum sector reforms and Petroleum Industry Bill remains the same, irrespective of whether the PIB is a single document as was the case in 2009 and 2012 or broken into four tranches as is currently done by the 8th National Assembly.
“As part of its operations, the oil and gas industry uses sealed radioactive sources and radiation generators in the country and this accounts for some 95percent of the use of nuclear and radiological materials in Nigeria.
“The presence of these radioactive materials and radiation generators results in the need for effective control of the use, storage, import, export, transport, occupational and public exposures to ionizing radiation etc through the NNRA.
“It is important to inform the National Assembly Committee on PIB that Nigeria under the global nuclear security architecture must account for the materials and the NNRA through its Regulatory Authority Information System (RAIS) periodically ensures this is done.
“Unfortunately, the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill inadvertently omitted the regulation of the use of radioactive materials by Petroleum licensee.
“We, therefore, appeal that Section 12 of the bill should include a subsection (I) which should read thus: ‘Petroleum licensee shall comply with the provisions of the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act (No 19 of 1995), CAP N142, laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. If the application requires the use of radioactive materials or devices emitting ionizing radiation.
“Similarly, we would however appeal to this Honourable Committee to include a new subsection (2) to Section 33 of the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill that the decommissioning, abandonment and/or disposal of radioactive materials or devices emitting ionizing radiation in Petroleum Operations should be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act (No. 19 of 1995), CAP N142, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”