Senate conducts public hearing on 46-year-old Atomic Energy Commission Act
The Senate Committee on Science and Technology on Wednesday conducted a public hearing on the obsolete Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission Act which came into existence 46 years ago. The bill which was sponsored by Senator Orkey Jev (Benue North West), was dissected by stakeholders who attended the public hearing, saying there is a need to amend the existing act to redefine the responsibilities of regulators from operators. Earlier in her opening speech, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology and the outgoing senatorial representative of Anambra Central Senatorial District, Uche Lilian Ekwunife, emphasised the need to amend the bill, stressing that the provisions of the act have grossly become inadequate for energy activities in Nigeria. The bills being considered by the committee which will wind up in a month include "Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (Repeal and Re-Enactment) 2022 and Nigeria Content in Programmes, Contracts, Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation (Establishments) 2023." Ekwunife said: "The Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission Act was enacted forty-six years ago in 1976. "Since then, there were no legislative steps taken to improve the Commission in line with realities of global dynamics. "This Bill, therefore, seeks to repeal the Atomic Energy Commission Act (CAP.N91) Laws of the Federation to streamline its provisions. "The Bill will make the commission cater for robust implementation of National Nuclear Programme in line with acceptable international standards in accordance with Nigeria's obligation under relevant international legal instruments." The Anambra lawmaker pointed out that the proposed amendment of the act, which will include nuclear energy, does not intend for negative use of nuclear power such as armament, "but mainly for peaceful purpose in area of nuclear power, medical diagnoses and others." Efforts to speak with the sponsor of the bill to explain why the bill was being considered at the twilight of the 9th Assembly proved abortive as he declined to grant an interview.