As part of the activities of the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) Mission to Nigeria, the nuclear experts which were drawn from 12 IAEA Member States visited the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and also alternate Chairman of the NNRA Governing Board, Dr Ibe Kachikwu in his office to primarily inform the Hon. Minister of the objectives of the mission and the activities the mission will involve.

The Team Leader of the Mission, Mr. Lamberto Matteoci explained to the Minister and Management Staff of the Petroleum Ministry present that the IRRS Mission is to review the regulatory framework for nuclear safety and radiation safety in line with the IAEA’s safety standards.

 The Mission, he stated is usually conducted at the request of the host country and therefore expressed IAEA’s appreciation to the government of Nigeria for the decision to host the Mission. He stated further that, that decision shows Nigeria’s commitment to safety and security in nuclear and radiological materials especially in its expectation of its first nuclear power plant (NPP).

 He further advised that independence should be given to the regulatory body from the promoters of nuclear to ensure the credibility of the nuclear programme and promote the safety and security of the nuclear and radioactive materials.

Mr Matteoci stated that the IRRS Mission provides Member States with the opportunity of sharing experiences to promote best practices as the nuclear industry is a highly regulated one.

 He stressed that for Nigeria to succeed in its quest for nuclear power programme implementation in the country, the role of government is very important as Nuclear Power Programmes demand. He said that at the end of the Mission, a Report will be forwarded to the Federal Government in which recommendations and suggestions will be stated for strengthening the existing regulatory functions of NNRA activities vis-a-vis the role of government in line with safety standards.

The IAEA representative Teodros Hailu, thanked Nigeria’s government on behalf of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and said that the agency will not just submit the report to Nigeria but will ensure that things are put in place through the rendering of technical cooperation and support to Nigeria  for enhancing the regulatory framework.

  Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, The Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the Alternate Chairman of the NNRA Governing Board, welcomed the experts and said that Nigeria was delighted to host the Mission noting that It is coming at a time when nuclear power and technology has become a source of concern all over the world and thus safety of the practice is paramount. He said Nigeria will be guided on its nuclear endeavours decisions through this review noting that a lot of radiological and nuclear activities have been going on in the oil sector in the country and that the experts view on the radiological practices is really cardinal.

He commended NNRA for doing a fantastic job in the area of regulating nuclear and radiological activities in Nigeria by ensuring safety and security of all activities that involve ionizing radiation and said that Nigeria looks forward to cooperate more with IAEA.

The Director General of NNRA and leader of the delegation for the courtesy visit, Prof Lawrence Dim, stated that the IAEA has a long standing relationship with Nigeria as a Member State and that nuclear regulation is an international affair which affects many countries in the world and therefore must be regulated properly. He said it is in view of this that the   IAEA established a number of review services for member states to review their regulations with a view to meeting the international standards.

He reiterated the importance of meeting with the Hon Minister as it sends positive signals to the international community about Nigeria’s commitment to nuclear safety and safeguards.

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