Nigeria’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority continues the good fight of keeping us safe from nuclear armageddon; by waging war against radiation from X-ray machines. Good job boys!

Posted on November 29, 2012 by

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The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, reiterated that the Nigerian government is still committed to developing and establishing the use of nuclear energy in generating power within the nation. This was at a workshop on Design Basis Threat organised by the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) during the week.

What surprised me the most was that we actually have a nuclear regulatory authority. So I decided to Google it and hey presto a website was available. Apparently the NNRA was established in 1995 and began operation in 2001. Since then it has generated many gazetted bills and regulations, as well as draft bills, draft guides, manuals and actual regulations in order to address the regulation of nuclear radiation in one form or another. Comically, the most popular form of nuclear radiation that the NNRA has tackled is that generated by x-ray machines. (Insert raucous laughter). It also has itemized a three (yes, only three) point emergency plan in the event of a nuclear emergency. I decided not to be overly judgmental on their capacity to address a nuclear emergency from the content of their website. They must know that for there to be an actual nuclear emergency, there has to be some kind of nuclear energy being generated within the country (other than x-ray radiation) and since there isn’t a body empowered to generate nuclear energy, they are just coasting through and being given an annual budget to do nothing. The life…

Unfortunately, the euphoria of that conclusion was short lived as I soon discovered while reading up on this issue in the Guardian that in addition to the NNRA, we also have a Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) and its duty is to actively pursue the development of a nuclear technology programme. Are these people crazy? Are they seriously considering the use of nuclear power? Do they not know the potential effect it could have if a natural disaster hits and the radiation spreads? Did they not hear of the problems created by the 2011 tsunami at the Fukushima plant in Japan? Is this not the same country that in 2012 was unable to save people involved in a plane crash near the Lagos airport? Is this not the same country that was unable to manage the floods that displaced 2 million people and killed 363 people in areas around River Niger? Need I say more?

Lets just say I had one mini heart attack and two major panic attacks while typing, but I survived to tell this tale. Fortunately, it seems I panicked too soon; I reacted before I visited the website of the NAEC. Let me just say this, if looking at that website was like looking into a crystal ball, I see a long happy future with a Nigeria dependent on crude oil. From what I saw, nuclear research is not going anywhere, any time soon in Nigeria. So we can all sit back, relax and allow these people continue to fool themselves with this nuclear energy brouhaha.

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