19 August 2013, Abuja – The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has asked operators and service providers in the Nigeria’s oil and gas industry to honestly comply with regulations on nuclear applications as regards their respective operations within the sector.
Alison-Madueke noted that considering the increasing demand and importation of radio-active materials into the country by operators in the oil and gas sector, it thus behoves on industry operators to respect the mandate of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, NNRA, to ensure effective monitoring of nuclear application in the industry by submitting to extant regulations.
A statement from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in Abuja, stated that she said this at the technical meeting organised by the NNRA to brainstorm with stakeholders on the challenges and expectations in regulating nuclear application in the oil and gas sector.
The statement signed by the acting General Manager, Public Affairs of NNPC, Tumini Green, quoted Alison-Madueke as saying that as the biggest importer of radio-active materials in the country, petroleum industry operators must conform to basic safety and security standards.
She explained that nuclear applications in the petroleum industry in Nigeria were not new, with some practitioners having about half a century of experience with some companies having close to 200 radio-active sources in some instances, she however, noted that the sources were high-risk sources and might cause serious concern if control over them was 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 in 1995 at the behest of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the subsequent establishment of the NNRA in 2001. Since its inception, the NNRA has been supervised by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources,” Alison-Madueke said.
The minister stated that: “The need for the NNRA to safely regulate nuclear applications by bringing them effectively under control cannot be overemphasised. 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. This is not only for the safety of the Nigerian public, but also to prevent these materials from diversion to illicit uses.”
She lauded the NNRA for taking steps to emplace a proper regulatory framework, within the context of its enabling Act and to effectively fulfil its major regulatory functions, adding that this had been achieved 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.
– Chineme Okafor, This Day