The Federal Government has indicated its commitment to continuously engage relevant stakeholders, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in fostering peaceful application of nuclear materials across relevant facets of the Nigerian economy.
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, stated this in her address at a workshop on Design Basis Threat (DBT) organised by the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) in conjunction with IAEA in Abuja.
She said Nigeria's imminent application of nuclear energy in her power generation mix would throw up various challenges that would require urgent attention.
In view of this, she said the country would have to initiate measures to guarantee the safety of her nuclear applications in line with existing international laws, norms and standard.
According to her, adequate measures aimed at developing Nigeria's internal capacity in threat assessment, systematic strengthening of security of nuclear material and other radioactive sources and facilities in the country. Government also revealed that an effective regulation of physical protection of nuclear and radiological materials and facilities would be developed for the country to continue with its planned application of nuclear materials for power generation.
Alison-Madueke explained that the workshop on DBT was initiated to assist stakeholders involved in the management of Nigeria's nuclear energy programme to immediately develop the required skills needed in factoring various threats to the security of nuclear facilities across the country.
According to her: "A very key factor is the issue of security of radioactive sources and nuclear materials in various applications, the decision of the government of Nigeria to harness nuclear technology for electricity generation will definitely present a new set of challenges for NNRA in terms of manpower development due to the peculiarities of the nuclear power programme.
"I note with satisfaction that the partnership of NNRA and IAEA is highly desirous and welcomed, given that IAEA is the world nuclear watchdog and NNRA has the national responsibility for nuclear safety, security, safeguards and radiation protection which means that NNRA is to ensure that all applications of nuclear energy are not only for peaceful purposes but also that they are safe for both users and the public."
Also, in his remarks, lead discussant from the IAEA, Mr. Muhammed Khaliq, stated that the DBT workshop, which is usually provided by the agency to its member countries, was aimed at providing for an understanding of nuclear energy development.
He said: "The workshop presents a step-by-step methodology for developing a DBT from a national threat assessment. It describes how a DBT may be used to establish and evaluate physical protection requirements for nuclear and radiological facilities.
"IAEA, besides other activities, helps the member states to identify the threats and vulnerability related to the security of nuclear and other radioactive material.
Physical protection systems are intended to prevent unacceptable consequences arising from malicious activities and in this regard there is no room for lacklustre attitude because the more serious the consequences, the more important it is to have a high degree of confidence that physical protection will be safe and effective as planned."