THE country's first nuclear reactor is to be inspected tomorrow by the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohammed El-Baradei.
THE country's first nuclear reactor is to be inspected tomorrow by the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohammed El-Baradei. The inspection is to ascertain the level of compliance with international standards.
The reactor, code-named NIRR-1, is located at the Centre for Energy Research and Training (CERT), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
El-Baradei was expected to arrive in the country yesterday on a two-day working visit.
The Director-General of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), Prof. Shamsudeen Elegba, said in Abuja yesterday that the IAEA chief would inspect the nuclear research reactor which was donated to Nigeria by the agency. Elegba said that the reactor was acquired, installed and inaugurated through a technical co-operation between Nigeria and IAEA.
The reactor was acquired to serve as a research facility for students, nuclear scientists and engineers and for peaceful applications in different fields of human endeavour," he noted.
He also allayed fears that it could be used to produce nuclear power for military capabilities.
"The status of our reactor is for research and training as well as to boost knowledge in the field of nuclear science and technology and its uses," he added.
"The safe operation and utilisation of NIRR-1 will contribute to the socio-economic development of Nigeria and various areas of human development," he noted.
It was learnt that the nuclear research reactor would also benefit Nigeria in the area of improved agricultural production through soil fertility studies and solid minerals development through National Geochemical mapping.
Others are industrial production through quality control processes and analysis as well as improved human health care, water resources management and environmental protection, among others.
The reactor was inaugurated on September 30 by the Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Turner Isoun. Isoun described the occasion as epochal as it had consolidated Nigeria's incursion into space and nuclear technology for the advancement of its people.
He, however, said that a much bigger capacity reactor would be required to fully grasp the fundamentals of the technology needed to run a nuclear power plant in the country.
Nigeria has recently delved into space technology, biotechnology and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to enhance sustainable development of the country.
Meanwhile, the UN nuclear chief would tomorrow hold talks with President Olusegun Obasanjo on areas of bilateral co-operation and assistance between Nigeria and the IAEA.
An itinerary of the visit made available to journalists indicated that El-Baradei will visit Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO), Abuja and the National Hospital also in Abuja.
He will also hold discussions with the Ministers of Health, Science and Technology, Justice, Foreign Affairs and the Presidential Adviser on Petroleum and Energy.
He would also pay a courtesy visit to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Ufot Ekaette.
The IAEA boss is billed to depart Nigeria for Ghana on Thursday.
Three African countries, including Nigeria, are among 172 countries that reaffirmed support for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT).
The other African countries that joined Nigeria to sign the CTBT were Algeria and South Africa. The agreement was aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, stop further nuclear tests and prevent nuclear proliferation in the world.
Nigeria was, last September, admitted as a new member of the agency's Board of Governors. The Board of Governors of the IAEA, the nuclear watchdog of the UN, is the policy-making body of the agency. It is appointed by the IAEA's General Conference and is made up of representatives of all the agency's member-states.`
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