Jonathan assures the world of Nigeria’s nuclear safety

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By Emma Ujah
ABUJA — President Goodluck Jonathan has assured the global community that Nigeria will  ensure that adequate safety measures are deployed when the country introduces nuclear power into its energy mix.

Speaking at the opening of the Nuclear Security Summit in the South Korean capital, President Jonathan declared that Nigeria remained fully committed to complying with all international legal and regulatory requirements for safety and security in the use of nuclear energy.

South Korea's President Lee Myung-Bak (L) greets Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan as he arrives for the welcoming ceremony for the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit at the Coex Center in Seoul on March 26, 2012. The two-day meeting in South Korea is a follow-up to an inaugural summit in Washington in 2010 hosted by US President Barack Obama, which kick-started efforts to lock up fissile material around the globe that could make thousands of bombs. AFP PHOTO

A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Reuben Abati, quoted President Jonathan as telling world leaders at the summit: “I wish to assure this august gathering that Nigeria has remained manifestly committed to compliance with international legal and regulatory requirements for safety, security and safeguards in the use of nuclear energy.

“Our commitment is unwavering, as it would be recalled that Nigeria was the second country to sign the Non‑Proliferation Treaty in 1968 and voted for its indefinite extension in 1995.

“Nigeria also signed the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement in 1998 and ratified the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident in 1990.  Furthermore, in preparation for the introduction of nuclear power in the country, Nigeria has ratified all relevant international treaties and conventions.”

The President said Nigeria had already taken significant actions in support of the resolutions of the Washington Nuclear Security Summit in 2010 and UN Security Council’ s Resolution 1540, including collaboration with the USA, China and the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, to convert the country’s research reactor from high enriched uranium to low enriched uranium to reduce the risk of fissile materials being stolen by criminal or terrorist groups.

According to him, Nigeria is  also working with the IAEA and other international expert institutions to enhance the training of personnel of its security agencies so that they are more able to meet the challenges of nuclear security threats.

Jonathan announced that a national institute for nuclear security training was being established in Abuja to provide human capacity development for the country and other African nations.

Jonathan said: “I would like to assure this meeting of my country’s unflinching support for all multi‑lateral efforts aimed at nipping the menace of nuclear terrorism in the bud.”

“As a country, we are desirous of the application of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes only.  We are committed to the achievement of a world free of nuclear weapons and we would continue to work assiduously with like‑minded countries to achieve that goal.”

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