Nigeria to review nuclear emergency plans

A nuclear plant

A nuclear plant

Nigeria may have begun arrangements for effective and efficient management of emergency and radioactive emissions arising from nuclear facilities and other economic operations in the country.

Indeed, the relevant authorities, including the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) converge on Abuja to chart a way forward with the International Atomic Energy Agency Emergency Preparedness Review (EPREV) on a special mission to Nigeria.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry Of Petroleum Resources, Taye Haruna, at the opening of the IAEA EPREA preparatory mission, said the group was in Nigeria to review the national arrangements for response to nuclear and/or radiological emergency.

According to him, the use of radiation sources in different fields of practice in Nigeria is steadily growing and despite safety precautions in design and operations accidents involving radiation sources do occur, hence the need for the review.

He also stressed the need for government’s commitment to develop capabilities to respond to radiological or nuclear emergency as well as adequate preparedness for an emergency.

“Nigeria has been identified by the International Atomic Energy agency as a high priority country requiring significant agency’s input to be able to cope with any radiological or nuclear emergency. However, there should be a concomitant political will by the government of Nigeria to develop its capabilities to respond to any radiological or nuclear emergency and adequate preparedness for an emergency can substantially improve the response.

“Due to socio-economic development in Nigeria there has been widespread use of radiation sources in medicine, industry and research and teaching. There is no doubt that Nigeria is one of the largest users of radiation sources in sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.

The Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Professor L. A. Dim, said hosting the EPREV mission demonstrates Nigeria’s commitment in the establishment and strengthening its national arrangements for nuclear infrastructural development and emergency preparedness and response.

“It is my fervent hope that the self assessment would be thoroughly reviewed because the need for continuous improvement in the EPR national arrangements is key and Nigeria is fully committed to strengthen and harmonize its national arrangements for response to radiological and nuclear emergencies and to improve their compliance with the international standards (GS-R-2).

“It is expected that the EPREV mission will facilitate improvements in Nigeria’s emergency preparedness and response arrangements from the knowledge gained and experiences shared between Nigeria and the EPREV team and through the evaluation of the effectiveness of the EPREV Missions, capabilities and good practices and contribute to enhancing credibility of national authorities,” he said.

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