NNR hosts the 12th steering committee meeting of the Forum For The Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa (FNRBA)
On the 28 of February – 2 March the FNRBA held its 12th steering committee meeting hosted by the NNR in Cape Town. The meeting was attended by delegates from Senegal, Egypt, Cameroon, Mali and South Africa. The purpose of the meeting was to go through the achievements of FNRBA and to review the plans going forward for 2017. The biggest task of the meeting was for the committee to review the FNRBA Charter which was last revised in 2011. Concluding the meeting the FNRBA now has a nearly complete Charter and a finalized Terms of Reference for the 10 thematic working groups.
During the meeting the committee also drafted an IT based assistance platform for the FNRBA that will be hosted by the IAEA. The NNR CEO, Dr Bismark Tyobeka, noted that this project came to life upon the realization that “African regulatory bodies are over reliant on external assistance. And in line with the mantra of solving African problems using African expertise we thought we should create a computer platform hosted by the IAEA where a regulator in Nigeria can source expertise within the African peers before we decide we can’t find them here let us find them in Europe or America”. This platform will allow for intra-regional collaboration among FNRBA members. This hub will enable the NNR, the leading regulator in Africa, to share their knowledge and expertise with other African countries who will benefit from the pool of expertise available at the NNR. The NNR has played a big role within the FNRBA. Currently the FNRBA is divided into 10 thematic working groups and currently the NNR leads 3 of these working groups; the Transport Safety TWG (lead by Paul Hinrichsen), the NPP Safety TWG (lead by Peter Bester) and the Emergency Preparedness and Response TWG (lead by Alan Muller). These working groups are also the most activate working group within the FNRBA and thus contribute to the NNR’s footprint in the forum.
As a side event Dr Tyobeka and the new CNSS Director, Dr Margaret Mkhosi convened a bilateral meeting with the IAEA officials to discuss interesting opportunities for utilising the center to become a regional training hub for IAEA activities and in the process supporting the FNRBA programme. According to the NNR CEO, the IAEA is highly interested in making the center a regional capacity building center for the African region. He said that the center is well positioned to become a regional training hub for the continent for IAEA activities supporting the FNRBA programme.
Dr Tyobeka noted that after coming from that meeting he now has a determination to work even harder to ensure that African countries in the nuclear regulatory space should be more willing to do things by themselves. He added that “African countries need to be more serious as regulators and their governments need to be more serious in supporting and funding regulators.” He noted that African countries should begin to learn to depend more on themselves and less on the external players in the nuclear regulatory space. Currently FNRBA activities and training initiatives are mainly supported by the IAEA (which also offers secretariat services to the forum), the US NRC (Unites States Nuclear Regulatory Commission) as well as KINS (Korean Institute for Nuclear Safety). He further stressed that the nuclear safety and security regime in Africa will be at risk if Africa itself does not take the initiative of investing more on itself but expecting more investment on external parties. In light of this the steering committee resolved to initiate discussions with the African Union to ensure that the FNRBA becomes more visible in the political space with the hope of signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the African Union soon.
About the FNRBA
The Forum of Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa (FNRBA) was launched in March 2009 to enhance, strengthen and harmonize the radiation protection, nuclear safety and security regulatory infrastructure and framework among the FNRBA’s members. FNRBA’s objective is to become a fully effective and efficient internationally recognized organization for the exchange of regulatory experiences and practices among the nuclear regulatory bodies in Africa.
Presently the FNRBA knowledge network consists of 10 thematic working groups consisting of experts working together on issues of common interest, sharing knowledge, and developing solutions to address common problems and working towards filling common gaps. The FNRBA is also expected to serve as a forum for dialogue where ideas are generated and exchanged among members who share common interest with the intention to develop innovative approaches.
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