Abuja – The Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) said it was reviewing the Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards (NSSS) Bill regulations to accommodate the operation of Nuclear Power Programme (NPP) in the country.
Prof. Lawrence Dim, the Director-General of the authority said this on Tuesday in an interview in Abuja.
Dim said that the NSSS Bill formed the basis for science and nuclear energy operations in the country and was undergoing a revision by relevant stakeholders to ensure that it was exclusive.
“The Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards bill is the act that will guide the operation of nuclear science, technology, and nuclear energy practice in Nigeria.
“It is very important that it is passed because it is the basis for any operation in Nigeria. If it is not passed, anything we are doing in that sector is null and void.
“This bill has been with us from the last national assembly and it went through the lower house but could not get the concurrence of the upper house.
“Right now because of the Nuclear Power Programme, we have further reviewed the bill, looked at it internally among us and have had meetings on it.
“We have also sent it out to other stakeholders who may be affected by it to look at it.
“The bill is not just only a Nigerian bill; it is an international bill because we have further taken it to the International Energy Agency to review it.
“When it is brought back, we will take it to the Ministry of Justice to start the process of gazetting,” Dim said.
Dim also said that the NNRA had reviewed regulations that would further enhance the operations of NPP across the country.
He, however, said that the regulations were being processed by professionals working with the authority to present it in its best form.
“In the area of regulatory requirements for NPP, the NNRA has commenced the review of regulations such as radiation protection, transport and radioactive waste management.
“The NNRA has completed the drafting of regulations for where NPP will be sited, physical protection of nuclear material and nuclear facilities, nuclear safeguards and uranium mining, milling and processing.
“We have also concluded the drafting of the Guidance on Licensing process for Nuclear Power Plants in Nigeria.
“Regulations and the guides are not ordinary documents, it is a technical document. Our lawyers have to put them in the best form for presentation to the President.
“This review they are doing in the ministry is what is delaying it because we have already submitted them and they require a professional output for proper delivery,’’ Dim said.
He added that more still needed to be done in the areas of human resource development and building regulatory capacity for the oversight of NPPs in the country.
One of the most important provisions of the NSSS bill is that no person shall site, construct, commission, operate or decommission a nuclear installation without a license issued by the NNRA.
The bill also recommends that an operator shall be exclusively liable for injury to any person and property upon proof that the damage was caused by a nuclear or radiological incident.
The Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act of 1995 established the NNRA and mandated it with the responsibility for nuclear safety and radiological protection regulation in the country.