An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts today completed a nuclear security advisory mission in Niger, which was carried out at the request of its Government.
The scope of the two-week International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission included reviews of the legislative and regulatory framework for the security of radioactive material, regulatory practices (licensing, inspections and enforcement) and coordination between organizations and stakeholders involved in nuclear security. The mission also covered security of radioactive material, and associated facilities and activities to prevent malicious acts intended or likely to have harmful radiological consequences. The team reviewed the security systems and measures in place in facilities where uranium ore concentrates or radioactive sources are in use or in storage. In May 2009, Niger ratified the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), and its incorporation into the country’s nuclear security regime was also included in the scope of the mission.
The team observed that Niger has established a nuclear security regime with essential elements of the IAEA’s guidance on the fundamentals of nuclear security. The team offered recommendations and suggestions to support Niger in further 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 compared Niger’s existing practices against the CPPNM and its 2005 amendment, as well as with IAEA nuclear security guidance,” said Muhammad Khaliq, Head of Nuclear Security of Materials and Facilities Section of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Security, after the closing of the mission. “This is the first IPPAS mission to Niger, which demonstrates strong commitment of the Government of Niger to enhancing nuclear security, both in the country and globally.”
“In this period characterized by the COVID-19 pandemic, Niger warmly welcomes the efforts made by the IAEA to respond favourably to its request for an IPPAS mission held in Niamey,” said Djibo Takoubakoye Daouda, Deputy Chief of Staff to the President of the Republic. “The results of this assessment will be taken into account during the upcoming revision of Niger’s Integrated Nuclear Security Support Plan in order to strengthen nuclear security in Niger”.
The team was led by Delwendé Nabayaogo, Senior Official for Nuclear Security Implementation at the Burkina Faso nuclear safety regulatory body (Autorité Nationale de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (ARSN)), and included five other experts from Cote d’Ívoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Romania and the IAEA. They met in the capital Niamey with officials from the Niger High Authority for Atomic Energy (Haute Autorité Nigérienne à l’Energie Atomique (HANEA)) and the Authority for Regulation and Nuclear Safety (Autorité de Régulation et de sûreté nucléaire (ARSN)), as well as with representatives of other relevant ministries and governmental organizations, including Civil Protection, National Police and Customs.
The mission was the 91st IPPAS mission conducted by the IAEA since the programme began in 1995.
IPPAS missions are intended to assist States in strengthening their national nuclear security regime. The missions provide peer advice on implementing international instruments, along with IAEA guidance on the protection of nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities.
During missions, a team of international experts observes a nation’s system of physical protection, compares it with international good practices and makes recommendations for improvement. IPPAS missions are conducted both on a nationwide and facility-specific basis.