The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has completed an International Physical Protection Advisory (IPPAS) review mission in Nigeria to assess the nuclear security regime and provide recommendations to enhance its effectiveness at the request of the Nigerian government.

The team reviewed the nuclear security regime for nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities and activities. They also assessed the physical protection systems installed at the Nigerian First Research Reactor, Temporary Radioactive Waste Storage Facility, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital Radiotherapy Department, and the Gamma Irradiation Facility at the Nuclear Technology Centre (NTC). Nigeria’s implementation of the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and its Amendment, was also assessed.

The team said the nuclear security regime is established and incorporates the fundamental principles of the amended CPPNM. The team made recommendations and suggestions to support Nigeria in enhancing and sustaining nuclear security. Good practices were identified that can serve as examples to other IAEA member states to help strengthen their nuclear security activities.

The IPPAS team was led by Juraj Vaclav, Head of the Division of Nuclear Material of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Slovak Republic, and included six other experts from Argentina, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Romania, the USA and one IAEA staff member.

The IPPAS team met with representatives from the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), the Centre for Energy Research & Training, the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, the Office of the National Nuclear Security Adviser, the Defence Headquarters, the Department of State Services, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal – Chemical, Biological, Radiological & Nuclear Unit of the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps.

"The IPPAS team compared Nigeria’s existing practices against the CPPNM and its 2005 Amendment, the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, as well as the IAEA nuclear security guidance,” said Arvydas Stadalnikas, Head of the Integrated Nuclear Security Approaches Unit at the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Security, during the mission closing ceremony. "The request for this first IPPAS mission to Nigeria demonstrates strong commitment of the Government of Nigeria to nuclear security. The results of this mission will help Nigeria to further enhance its nuclear security regime."

Dr Yau Usman Idris, Director General/CEO of the NNRA, highlighted Nigeria’s commitment to continuous improvement of its nuclear security regime. “The recommendations provided by the IPPAS experts will enable the Federal Government of Nigeria to effectively enhance the implementation of the relevant international instruments on protection of nuclear and other radioactive material, associated facilities and activities ".

Image: Dr Yau Usman Idris, Director General/CEO of NNRA and members of the IPPAS team during the mission closing ceremony in Nigeria (courtesy of IAEA)