Home News FG obtains €1m EU grant for nuclear project

FG obtains €1m EU grant for nuclear project

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The Federal Government, on Wednesday, announced that it had secured a grant of €1 million from the European Union (EU) to execute the instrument for nuclear safety projects in Nigeria.

It announced this in Abuja through the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), after EU nuclear safety experts visited the NNRA and held discussions with the agency for three days.

In a statement issued in Abuja by NNRA Head of Information and Protocol Unit, Ekaette Bassey said the discussions centred on the commencement of the European Instrument for International Nuclear Safety Cooperation project on enhancing the regulatory framework for nuclear safety in Nigeria.

It said, “The EU experts were in Nigeria to interact with their counterparts in NNRA on the modalities for the implementation of the first bilateral cooperation project on nuclear safety and the safe management of radioactive waste in the country to be supported by a grant from the EU”.

The Director-General, of NNRA, Yau Idris, thanked the EU for finding the request made by the agency worthy of a grant, covering a period of two years from 1st October 2023, to 31 September 2025.

He indicated that the implementation of the project would be closely monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure compliance with international best practices and regulations.

Idris stated that part of the grant was meant for the NNRA to implement some aspects of the IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service mission.

He stated that, during the mission, the IAEA sent a team of 12 senior nuclear regulatory experts from 11 countries and three of its staff to Nigeria to review the country’s radiation and nuclear safety regulatory framework and activities against relevant IAEA safety standards and international nuclear safety treaties.

The DG also noted that in July 2023 the IAEA conducted an International Physical Protection Advisory Service mission to Nigeria.

“The mission was made up of eight international experts from the United States, France, Argentina, Indonesia, Romania, Lebanon, Slovakia and Pakistan together with NNRA staff and with the assistance of the Office of the National Security Adviser.

“They visited facilities with high-risk nuclear and radioactive material, including the Nigeria Nuclear Research Reactor, located at the Centre for Energy Research and Training, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

“The goal was to assess Nigeria’s compliance with the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 Amendment, Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources as well as the relevant IAEA Nuclear Security Series publications”, Idris stated.

He said both IAEA missions concluded that Nigeria, through the NNRA, had established an excellent nuclear safety and security regime that was in the process of being significantly improved through the update of legislative and regulatory framework and other ongoing initiatives.

“Key issues requiring urgent attention are the passage of the NNRA Bill and its presidential assent and the provision of a permanent headquarter office”, the agency’s boss stated.

He said the EU chose the NNRA for the project based on several positive reports by all the IAEA missions to Nigeria and its leadership in Africa as regards nuclear regulatory activities and competence.

“The project will focus on capacity development and training, enhancing the regulatory framework for nuclear safety and ensuring that Nigeria implements the recommendation of all the IAEA missions in respect to its regulatory infrastructure”, Idris stated.

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