FG Begins Implementation of Nuclear Emergency Strategy

July 8, 2021

The federal government has begun ramping up its preparedness to handle emergencies resulting from the use of nuclear and radiological materials in the country.

The government stated that a protection strategy in such emergencies remain one of the elements that must be put in place for taking response actions in cases of emergencies, given the growing use of peaceful deployment of nuclear power in the country.

Speaking during a workshop which brought together all the emergency response agencies of government in the country, acting Chairman of the Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), Prof. Yusuf Ahmed, noted that part of the objectives was to ensure that all the nuclear energies deployed in various parts of the country are kept safe.

He noted that in cases of emergencies, the first responders needed to know what to do to protect people, communities and the environment around the facilities, adding that the national coordination of response team has been a challenge.

“There are security people and other emergency responders who are supposed to respond when such incidents happen. What we are trying to do is how to harmonise all these emergency responses wherever it happens within the country.

“How to coordinate their actions and so this is one of such exercises to put them together under one roof and these are the standards in the nuclear industry.

“We need to know the standards in the security forces, emergency management experts and harmonise to ensure planning, including deploying facilities,” he said.

He noted that Nigeria has been using nuclear power for peaceful applications since the 1980s, stressing that nuclear power can be used for other purposes aside deploying it for violent purposes.

He stated that Nigeria has continued to build on the development of its nuclear power for use in agriculture, health, water resources, mining and on the environment.

The objectives of the workshop, the commission said was to train personnel of relevant response organisations on how to develop, justify and optimise protection strategy for nuclear use and understand the domestic framework that guides the process of implementing protection strategy.

On the expected outcome of the programme organised in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ahmed stated that hazard assessment, among others would form the fulcrum of the workshop.

Participants included personnel from NAEC and its centres, Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the media.

Others were the military, Nigeria police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), medical responders as well as state and local authorities responsible for decision-making.

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