As part of the activities of the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts led by the Director General of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority’s (NNRA) Prof. Lawrence Dim visited one of NNRA’s key stakeholders, the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) recently at its head office in Abuja. The delegation was warmly received by the Director General of the Commission, Prof. Eli Jidere Bala.

 Prof. Dim stated that the visit is one of the many scheduled for the mission as it was important for key stakeholders to be integrated into the mission. He reiterated that the mission is geared at strengthening regulatory regulations and infrastructure of member states and that radiation and nuclear safety were adequately covered.

Prof Eli Bala in his response said that the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) was established and charged with the statutory mandate for the strategic planning and co-ordination of national policies in the field of Energy in all its ramifications. This makes it a key stakeholder in the nuclear industry as its major role is to promote energy mix in Nigeria. He however noted that the awareness of the numerous benefits of nuclear energy amongst citizens is very minimal thus the aggressive refusal of people to accept nuclear power as a safe source of energy. He emphasized the need for major players in the industry to promote nuclear energy adding that citizens must be sensitized to ensure acceptance and cooperation for the success of the programme.

Prof. Bala who is also a member of the NNRA governing board pledged the support of the Board to ensure that NNRA is empowered to carry out its duties effectively and in line with world practice. He opined that the country is bent on adhering strictly to the safety and security of nuclear energy in the country and that nuclear energy has the approval of the government as the President is the Chairman of the Governing Board.

The IRRS Team Leader, Mr. Lamberto Matteocci of the Italian Regulatory Authority while responding, congratulated Nigeria for taking the bold step of requesting the Integrated Regulatory Review Services mission. He stated that the mission is essentially to address nuclear and radiation safety and to assist Nigeria with the support according to the IAEA standards. This support he says is carried out by reviewing the self assessment of Nigeria’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority’s practices. He noted that the mission was not an inspection or an indicting practice but will reveal the strength and weakness of the Authority. It will ensure better regulatory practices and promote best practices in the industry.

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