IAEA visits Nigeria for nuclear regulations peer review test

(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

A team of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) has visited Nigeria for a review of its nuclear infrastructure, legal frameworks and compliances.

The exercise is coming after 50 years the country last engaged in developing its infrastructure for peaceful application of nuclear science and technology.

Director General of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), Prof. Lawrence Anikwe Dim, who welcomed the team at the two-day exercise, noted some of the international requirements, which the country had complied with.

He said Nigeria had signed and ratified several international treaties and conventions in nuclear non-proliferation, safety, security and safeguards to further consolidate its commitment to the peaceful development of nuclear energy.

Dim explained that it was to demonstrate the transparency of the country’s nuclear power programme and ensure international acceptability of the programme. “To strengthen its legal and regulatory infrastructure and to domesticate our obligations under the treaties and conventions, Nigeria with the assistance of the IAEA, reviewed the Act and is committed to passing the new bill into law by the last quarter of 2017,” he said.

The IRRS team leader, Lamberto Matteoci and the Coordinator, Teodros Hailu, explained that in the course of their peer review mission, they would inspect the nation’s nuclear facilities and infrastructure and examine existing legal frameworks.

They explained that the outcome of their mission would be contained in a report, which will include findings, observations, recommendations, suggestions and solutions.

Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Victor Nwokolo appealed to the IAEA IRRS team to educate Nigerian practitioners on how best to protect and safeguard nuclear materials from going into wrong hands of those who could use them to harm the citizens.

“The nuisance in our society have developed more sophisticated methods of causing harm to their fellow citizens and the state.”

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