13 July 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Wednesday, made far-reaching recommendations and suggestions to the Federal Government and the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) on how to guarantee Nigeria’s nuclear and radiation safety.
The IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team, which concluded a 10-day mission to assess the regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in Nigeria, affirmed the NNRA’s commitment to improving safety and to protecting people and the environment.
The leader of the IRRS team, Mr. Lamberto Matteocci, said the IRRS team recognises the strong commitment of Nigeria to improving nuclear and radiation safety, adding that the team was extended full cooperation by all parties in its review.
He expressed optimism that the outcome of the mission would be of great help to the country in order to enhance its national regulatory framework.
It, however, noted that the NNRA faces challenges in ensuring its full independence in decision-making and in developing its competence to effectively conduct regulatory activities, particularly in light of Nigeria’s planned nuclear power programme.
Some of the recommendations and suggestions provided by the team for improvements include that the Federal Government should establish a national policy on safety and ensure that the corresponding legal framework is in line with IAEA safety standards.
It also stated that the Federal Government should ensure that the NNRA is effectively independent and is functionally separate from entities having responsibilities or interests that could influence its decision-making.
Furthermore, it said, “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 non-compliance.
“The NNRA should consider formalising cooperation with other authorities having responsibilities related to safety.”
The team further stated that the final mission report would be provided to Nigeria in about three months, adding that the authorities in Nigeria had told the IAEA that they plan to make the report public.
In his reaction, Director General of the NNRA, Mr. Lawrence Dim, said, “The Nigerian Government will work with the IAEA to develop a work-plan for the implementation of the mission’s recommendations and suggestions.
“Nigeria is always ready to cooperate with the Agency in the area of nuclear and radiation safety, as well as in other areas. We are committed to using the IAEA safety standards and international best practices to improve our policy, and legal, technical and regulatory infrastructure.”