A 4-day training course on Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) was organized by the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) for its Regulatory Officers from 12th-15th September 2022 in Abuja, Nigeria.

The training was conducted for the purpose of establishing and improving on proper mechanism for responding to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the country, thereby reducing the number of potentially affected and exposed people, and the gravity of radiological injuries in case of any nuclear or radiological accident. The National Training Course (NTC) programme will further help to strengthen and harmonize the national arrangements for response to radiological and nuclear emergencies and Nigeria’s compliance with the international legal instruments and safety standards

Declaring the training open, the General Manager, Nuclear Safety, Physical Security and Safeguards Department, Dr. Nasirudeen Bello, who also represented the DG/CEO NNRA Dr. Yau Idris remarked that the training was organized to further enhance national capacity and capability for emergency preparedness and response to a nuclear and radiological emergency, noting that, it is important to ensure that personnel carrying out these regulatory functions attain the high level of competence. He urged the participants to maximize the opportunity of the training in order to improve on their skills, thereby gaining their confidence through competence; as a competent regulator is a confident regulator.

The training was based on the approved International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) training Syllabus and the NNRA Regulations and had regulators drawn from Zonal, Operational and Headquarters office of the NNRA.

At the end of the 4 days intensive technical sessions, the Regulators demonstrated via evaluation and interaction a good understanding of the basic national arrangements for response to radiological and nuclear emergencies; basic requirements for the establishment and equipping of a Nuclear and Radiological Emergency preparedness and Response Coordination Centre; the Early Notification and Assistance Conventions to which Nigeria is signatory as well as roles and duties of some Response Organizations as stipulated in the National Nuclear and Radiological Emergency Plan (NNREP), review and assessment of  drills/exercises in emergency preparedness and response and familiarity with the EPR Regulations.

The participants were opportuned to be introduced to the Offsite Alarm Monitoring Station (OAMS) which was installed by the US-DOE as part of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI). The objective of the station is to secure high risk nuclear and radiological materials from theft or sabotage in Nigeria by monitoring all the high risk facilities from the OAMS. A life view of the system was demonstrated to the participants and they were so pleased with this achievement in the NNRA.

Participants were also taken on a tour to the National Nuclear & Radiological Emergency Response Centre/Offsite Alarm Monitoring Station after the training to familiarise them with the installations and the standard operating procedures put in place.

The aim of establishing the emergency center is to have in place effective and compatible national arrangements for early warnings, responding to actual and potential nuclear/radiological incidents and continuous emergencies independent of notification. The functions of the center among others include: to serve as the national focal point for responding to nuclear or radiological incidents and emergencies and for promoting improvement in national emergency preparedness and response; to provide for an integrated system through which Nigeria can effectively share information and experience with the international community and report events and request for assistance from the IAEA under the Early Notification and Assistance Conventions (Emergency conventions).