The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has advised the Federal Government to formulate a national policy on safety in order to protect Nigerians from the harmful effect of nuclear radiation.
The Director of Radiation at the IAEA, Peter Johnston made the appeal on Wednesday after a 10-day integrated regulatory review service meeting with officials of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Mr Johnston stated the agency’s committed to using the IAEA safety standards and international best practices, in order to improve Nigeria’s policy, legal, technical and regulatory infrastructure.
The Director General of NNRA, Professor Lawrence Dim pledged Nigeria’s commitment to implementing the recommendations of the IAEA.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says North Korea has restarted its nuclear facility at Yongbyon, North Korea.
The Yongbyon plutonium site processes spent fuel from power stations and has been the source of plutonium for North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.
The reactor was shut down in 2007 but Pyongyang vowed in 2013 to restart all nuclear facilities, including the main reactor at its Yongbyon site that had been shut down and has been at the heart of its weapons program.
However, Pyongyang last year announced that it was back in operation again. It has since conducted its fourth test of a nuclear weapon and also its multiple missile tests broke existing international sanctions and provoked further measures from the UN and individual countries.
The IAEA has no access to North Korea after being thrown out in 2009 and now relies largely on satellite data.
The agency said last year that it had seen signs of a resumption of activity at Yongbyon, including at the main reactor.
“Resumption of the activities of the 5 megawatt reactor, the expansion of centrifuge-related facility, reprocessing, these are some of the examples of the areas (of activity indicated at Yongbyon),” IAEA Chief Yukiya Amano told a news conference during a quarterly IAEA Board of Governors meeting.
North Korea has come under tightening international pressure over its nuclear weapons programme, including tougher UN sanctions adopted in March backed by its lone major ally China, following its most recent nuclear test in January.
President Muhammed Buhari says he welcomes the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for Nigeria’s aspiration to generate electricity using nuclear energy.
The President said this on Wednesday in Abuja in company of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and a number of Ministers while receiving the Director-General of the IAEA, Mr Yukiya Amano.
He said he was happy that the organisation was developing a program from which Nigeria will benefit.
President Buhari also urged the IAEA to do more to support Nigeria in view of the long years of its association and support for the nuclear regulatory agency.
In his address, Mr Amano said that he was pleased to see that Nigeria was taking the correct steps, so far, toward a safe usage of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
The Ministers of Power, Solid Minerals, Health, Science and Technology, briefed reporters on the outcome of the meeting.
They disclosed that preparatory steps taken so far included the training of doctors and other medical specialists to prepare for unforeseen circumstances, the establishment of specialist medical centres and the procurement of necessary equipment, aimed at protecting the health of the citizens.
According to the Ministers, Nigeria is aspiring to start a program in the coming years that would give the country 1,000 megawatts of electricity in the first instance, which would to be increased to 4,000 megawatts thereafter.
The US has imposed fresh sanctions on Iranian companies and individuals over a recent ballistic missile test.
The new sanctions prevent 11 entities and individuals linked to the missile programme from using the US banking system.
The fresh sanctions came after international nuclear sanctions on Iran were lifted as part of a deal hailed by President Barack Obama on Sunday as “smart”.
Four American-Iranians were also freed in a prisoner swap, as part of the deal.
Among them was Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian – whom President Obama described as “courageous”. A fifth American was freed separately.
The US said it had offered clemency to seven Iranians being held in the US for sanctions violations.
According to a BBC report, negotiations over the prisoner exchange delayed the US Treasury’s imposition of the latest sanctions – originally intended to be announced in December.
The fresh sanctions were triggered by Iran conducting a precision-guided ballistic missile test capable of delivering a nuclear warhead last October, violating a United Nations ban.
“Iran’s ballistic missile program poses a significant threat to regional and global security, and it will continue to be subject to international sanctions,” said Adam J Szubin, US acting under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
Moments later, President Obama hailed the nuclear deal, which is being implemented following verification by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran had restricted its sensitive nuclear activities.
“This is a good day because once again we’re seeing what’s possible with international diplomacy,” Mr Obama said.
“For decades,” he said, “our differences meant our governments hardly ever spoke – ultimately, that did not advance our interests.”
The deal meant “Iran will not get its hands on a nuclear bomb,” he said.
Earlier, Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani hailed a “new chapter” in its relations with the world.
But Israel, bristled on Sunday at the lifting of international sanctions on Iran, vowed to flag up any violations of its arch-foe’s nuclear restrictions while drawing on U.S. defence aid to prepare for a possible military face-off in the future.
Yukiya Amano, the Head of the Global Nuclear Watchdog the (IAEA), has paid a visit to Iran’s Parchin Military site in Iran.
Mr Amano arrived Iran on Sunday. His visit was seen by western diplomats as key to the implementation of the deal with world powers over Iran’s nuclear programme.
Under the new deal, inspectors from the IAEA will continuously monitor Iran’s declared nuclear sites and verify that no fissile material is moved covertly to a secret location for bomb.
Iran has also agreed to allow inspectors to access any site they deem suspicious.
International inspectors had previously had limited access to the complex.
In a 2006 report, the IAEA said its inspectors “did not observe any unusual activities in the buildings visited, and the results of the analysis of environmental samples did not indicate the presence of nuclear material”.
But concerns have persisted. In late 2011, the IAEA said it observed extensive landscaping, demolition and new construction at the site.
In February 2012, inspectors were turned away from the site.
The deal agreed in July entailed Iran agreeing to limit its sensitive nuclear activities in return for an end to crippling international sanctions.
US said the deal would prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. US Republicans had opposed the deal but an attempt to derail it was been blocked by Democrats in the Senate earlier this month.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday arrived Incheon Airport, South Korea to attend the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul where global safety and how to shield nuclear materials from terror groups will be discussed.
Mr Jonathan who arrived the airport at 8.20pm Korean time (about 12.30pm Nigerian time) and was received by the Nigerian Delegation in the country led by the Ambassador Desmond Akawo, the Ambassador of Nigeria to Korea was accompanied by his wife Dame Patience, the Delta state governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan and the governor of Taraba state governor, Danbaba Suntai.
The other officials in the President’s entourage are the Ministers for Power, Barth Nnaji, Science and Technology, Ita Ewa Henshaw, Housing, Ama Pepple and Transport, Senator Idris Umar.
Mr Jonathan opened the Nigerian-Korea Investment and business forum at the Korean Chamber of Commerce building before heading for the opening ceremony of the Nuclear Security summit in Seoul which is largely restricted to 56 heads of State and three private companies.
Already, the United States of America’s President, Barrack Obama and most of the Heads of State expected at the event have arrived South Korea ahead of the Security summit which will hold at the Conference Exhibition Centre (CEOX), a centre adjudged to having the highest level of security screening and alert.
Journalists accredited to cover the event are restricted to the International Media Centre while roads to the venue are to be closed to traffic through the duration of the event. The Colour of accreditation cards automatically screen off those not expected to pass certain points.
Mr Jonathan will devote the entire Tuesday to talks on nuclear safety and how to protect nuclear materials from getting into the wrong hands which will pose greater threat to the world.
However, the Nuclear Industry Summit which held earlier agreed to de-emphasise processing Highly enriched uranium for civilian purposes but to concentrate technology on even reversing from High grade to low grade enriched Uranium and to screen off civilian access to grades that were not for civilian purposes.
They also agreed to empower any new entrant into the nuclear class who seeks their assistance and after meeting the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) standards and prescriptions.
Mr Jonathan will on Wednesday attend breakfast meeting with the Nigerian community in South Korea where he is expected to brief them on efforts by his administration to lift Nigeria through policy implementation to a developed economy by building infrastructure and solicit their support to attain development in their various areas of competence.
He will thereafter return to Abuja on the same Wednesday.
The summit in South Korea will be the second in its series, coming after the first edition hosted by Mr Obama in Washington D.C from April 12 to 13, 2010.
Coming almost a year after the Fukushima Daiishi nuclear disaster in Japan, it will seek to advance global shared objectives in nuclear disarmament, nuclear proliferation, peaceful and safe use of nuclear energy, and security of employing nuclear power as a viable source of energy, among others.