The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has examined the performance and operational framework of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA).
The IAEA, also assessed the operations of nuclear regulators in other African countries in the course of a four-day African regional coordinating meeting held recently in Abuja.
According to Director, Radiological Safety, NNRA, Prof. Timothy Akpan, in a statement, the major issue was the level of the regulatory framework in Nigeria, as well as in the whole of Africa.
He said: “The review was to look at the performances of the various regulatory bodies and to make sure that they improve, so that not only Nigeria, but Africa will move as a body in terms of nuclear regimes.”
He added: “The nuclear regulatory system keeps changing and you might be surprised that Nigeria is catching up with other African countries in this regard. The system changes and some innovations from different countries were brought after the meeting.
“In that regard Nigeria learnt a lot and has developed a lot of regulations and we are now in the stage of putting the whole thing into practice to ensure that the nuclear system when finally built in Nigeria will be a very strong one in terms of safety.”
Speaking on Nigeria’s agreement with Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear energy corporation, on the construction of the proposed nuclear power plants and nuclear research centre, the professor, stressed that there are specific milestones Nigeria has to cross in same regard.
He said: “The Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission is responsible for nuclear power, but, of course, we should know what steps they are taking.”
The African Regulators Conference, he stated was established by the IAEA in cooperation with other regional bodies to oversee radiation production and nuclear safety in Africa.
The IAEA, he informed, occasionally conducts assessment of regulatory agencies in regions: “The idea is for one nation who is doing very well to work with others to bring them up.”
Akpan further stated that Nigeria’s oil and gas sector was the largest consumer of nuclear