International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Wednesday gave the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) a clean bill of health, describing it as a committed regulatory body that works for the continuous improvement of nuclear and radiation safety.
An interim report that the IAEC Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission’s chairman, Lamberto Mattoecci presented on the 10-day mission, however, observed that the NNRA was still enmeshed in challenges related to its independence in implementing regulatory decisions and activities.
Presenting the report in Abuja, the IAEA recommended that the “government should ensure that the NNRA is effectively independent and it is functionally separated from entities having responsibilities or interests that could influence its decision-making.”
It also recommended that the government should establish a national policy on safety and ensure that the corresponding legal framework is in line with IAEA safety standards.
It recommended that the NNRA should carry out an analysis of all competencies needed to cover its responsibilities, develop and implement a human resources and training plan.
IAEA urged the regulatory body should ensure that all facilities and activities have a valid authorization, and establish and implement an enforcement policy to respond to non-compliance,
The NNRA, according to Mattoecci, should consider formalising cooperation with other authorities having responsibilities related to safety.
He submitted that the final mission report will be provided to Nigeria in about three months. Mattoecci revealed that “Authorities in Nigeria have told IAEA that they plan to make the report public.”
The 12-member IRRS team comprised of senior experts from France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Latvia, Morocco, Pakistan, Slovenia, Turkey, and Zimbabwe, as well as IAEA staff members.
The Nigerian government, according to him, “will work with the IAEA to develop a work-plan for the implementation of the mission’s recommendations and suggestions,”
On the findings, the mission said that “The IRRS team recognizes the strong commitment of Nigeria to improving nuclear and radiation safety. The team was extended full cooperation by all parties in this review,” said Lamberto Mattoecci, Technical Coordinator for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection at the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA).