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Oil industry operators advised on safe application of radioactive materials

BY CHRIS OCHAYI

ABUJA—A former Presidential Adviser on Petroleum Matters, Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah, yesterday, advised operators in the oil and gas sector to devise means for safe application and effective regulation of radiation sources in the industry.

Dr. Egbogah noted that apart from being the largest importer and user of radioactive sources in the country, the oil and gas sector was also the hub of activities involving ionizing radiation.

Egbogah spoke at a technical meeting on regulatory nuclear applications in the oil and gas sector.

He said the sector must devise means for safe application and effective regulation involving radiation sources.

Egboga said: “In 2012, the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, NNRA, issued a total of 633 authorizations, about 500 of which were for practices in the oil and gas sector. This represents about 78 percent of all the authorizations issued in the year.

“If we note that NNRA authorizations are preceded by inspections, it is obvious that NNRA oversight activities are by far highest in the sector. Presently, over 80 percent of all radioactive sources imported into the country are used in the oil and gas sector for nuclear well-logging, industrial radiography, nuclear gauging and radio-tracing amongst others.

“Most of the sources used in these practices are itinerant and therefore, they place higher oversight challenges for the regulators.

“They also involve the risk of loss of control due to theft, sabotage, unauthorized transfers and accidents which could result in unintended exposure and consequent deleterious effects.”

He explained further that NNRA regulatory framework, situated within the context of the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act, enabled NNRA to effectively fulfill its primary regulatory functions through a system of registration, licensing, inspection, and enforcement of compliance.

He added that in doing so, there was bound to be areas where possible improvements could be desired.

While calling for synergy among stakeholders to ensure the effective implementation of programmes for physical security, radiation protection and emergency response, Egboga noted that past incidences involving loss of control, illegal transfer and transportation, stuck in hole, hijacking of vehicles carrying radioactive cargo, and mis-declaration of radioactive sources must be avoided in the future.


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