EXCERPT FROM NIGERIA’S STATEMENT ON THE CONVENTION ON NUCLEAR SAFETY


 

1. Introduction

This report is issued according to Article 5 of the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS). Nigeria is not a nuclear State according to the terms of the CNS. However, this report will give a brief overview of the nuclear research activities going on in the country and on how Nigeria is implementing the different Articles of the CNS. Considering also the fact that Nigeria has taken a national decision to harness electricity from nuclear power, the report shall provide an overview of the steps being taken in respect of nuclear safety for the Project.

 

2. Overview of the Development of Nuclear Power Programme

The activities leading to the development of the nuclear power programme dates back to 1976 when the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission Act No.46 of 1976 was promulgated. The Act No. 46 created NAEC which however was not operational until July, 2006 with the appointment of its pioneer Director-General.

 

For regulation and licensing, the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) was established by the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act No. 19 of 1995, and mandates the Authority to regulate all activities ionizing radiation in the country, including the enforcement of all nuclear laws and regulations. The Authority became operational in May, 2001.

 

3. National Decision Process

The Federal Government in its effort to improve the energy generation in the country inaugurated an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Energy Resources in April, 2004. This committee assessed and quantified all the major energy resources in the country and identified nuclear energy as a major potential source and was recommended for consideration by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Also, this recommendation was further affirmed through analytical studies using appropriate modelling tools by the ECN in 2006.

 

4. National Institutional Framework

In recognition of the multifaceted nature of a nuclear power programme, the sustainable and successful implementation of the programme entails full participation of several other national stakeholder institutions. In this regard, the main stakeholder institutions for the planning, management and implementation of the National Nuclear Power Programme are as indicated below:

         i.            The NAEC which is mandated as the national focal institution for atomic energy development in Nigeria. Some nuclear energy research centres have been established and are involved in manpower training and capacity building;

         ii.            The Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) is the national nuclear regulator; established by Act 19 of 1995, became operational in 2001. Empowered to licence and regulate the operations of the nuclear power industry and the use of radioactive sources; Has a national institute for radiation protection and research which is involved in manpower training;

         iii.            The Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) - responsible for energy policy and planning;

         iv.            The National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) - electricity pricing;

         v.            The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency   (NESREA) – for environmental protection; and

         vi.            The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) – emergency planning and management.

 

These agencies and institutions amongst others constitute the Nuclear Energy Programme Implementation Committee (NEPIC).

 

5. Implementation of the CNS

With Nigeria’s expression of political commitment in 2005 to harness nuclear energy for electricity generation, there arose the need for the country to demonstrate the peaceful and transparent nature of our nuclear power programme. Thus in July 2005, the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology organized the First National Seminar on Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - Challenges and Opportunities. Part of the recommendations of the National Seminar was for Nigeria to, as a matter of priority, ratify the CNS amongst others. Consequently, Nigeria ratified the CNS in 2007. Nigeria is also party to the following amongst others:

         i.            Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT)

         ii.            Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA)

         iii.            Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident and the Convention on Assistance in Case of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency

         iv.            Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management

         v.            Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials and its amendment

         vi.            Instrument of Acceptance of the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Atomic Energy Agency

         vii.            Protocol Additional to the Agreement between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards

         viii.            Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage

 

The obligations under the CNS cover:

         i.            Review of safety of existing nuclear installations

         ii.            Establishment of legislative and regulatory framework, establishment of regulatory body and responsibility of the license holder.

         iii.            General safety considerations for priority to safety, financial and human resources, human factors, quality assurance, assessment and verification of safety, radiation protection and emergency preparedness.