Indebtedness, stumbling block to Nigeria’s nuclear sector progress — NNRA DG

THE Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) has appealed to the Federal Government to ensure the payment of its indebtedness to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), lamenting that the debt has been a stumbling block to the progress of nuclear sector in Nigeria.

The Director-General/Chief Executive Officer (DG/CEO) of the authority, Professor Lawrence Dim, who made this appeal in a signed statement made available to the Nigerian Tribune in Abuja, on Sunday, further urged the government to ensure that Nigeria paid up all her access contribution fees to the IAEA to enable the NNRA to make meaningful contributions in the society.

He also implored the government to improve the funding of the NNRA, as nuclear power programme required long term commitment, pointing out that the authority had lived up to its mandate by continuously ensuring the protection of life, health, as well as property and the environment.

Professor Dim observed that there was the need for the institutionalisation of the Nuclear Safety Security and Safeguards Bill through an act of the National Assembly, in order to domesticate the nation’s international obligations.

The Director-General, who admitted that there was inadequate information on the beneficial uses of ionizing radiation, said these were parts of recommendations after the fourth national workshop organised by the NNRA in Abuja, for editors and correspondents.

According to him, government at all levels should ensure that all facilities that ought to be under regulatory control of the NNRA were indeed regulated by the NNRA.

“Not all the facilities that should be under regulatory control of the NNRA are indeed regulated by the authority.

“There is generally a low level of awareness with respect to the nuclear sector. The Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards Document (Bill) is yet to be passed into law by the National Assembly. There should be more information dissemination on the nuclear sector in order to enlighten the public.

“Government should embark on an intensive manpower development to achieve the critical mass of professionals for the development of the nuclear sector. The NNRA should collaborate with the relevant agencies on grassroots sensitisation,” he added.

Other management staff present at the workshop included Director, Radiological Safety, Professor T. C. Akpa; Director, Authorisation and Enforcement, Dr Yau Idris; as well as Deputy Director, Nuclear Safety, Physical Security and Safeguards,  Dr Nasiru Bello and the Head of Information and Protocol Unit, Mrs Ekaette Ebong Bassey.