No foreclosure on nuclear power – FG

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

ABUJA – the Federal Government has stated that it has not foreclosed the option of complimenting the nation’s electricity generation through nuclear power.

This position is coming in the light of the Fukushima, Japan nuclear disaster in March this year, which has led several western nations including Germany, France and the United States of America to review their nuclear energy policies.

The Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji, who came up with the position noted, however, that Nigeria has to be very meticulous in reviewing the need against the Japanese tragedies.

Nnaji made this declaration on Friday during a visit by Nuclear Power experts from Russia Atomic, Rosatom, visited him in Abuja, who are in the country to seek government’s assistance to commence the construction of nuclear power plant in the Nigeria.

The Power Minister agreed with the Russians that considering the industrial potentials of Nigeria and its size and population, nuclear power would have been the fastest and more sustainable way of solving the electricity challenges in Nigeria but insisted that the safety of Nigerians transcends every other consideration.

According to Nnaji, “Nigeria intends to sit down and properly evaluate what happened in Japan and weigh the risk against National interest.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria and the Russian Federation have struck a cooperative agreement for the development of a nuclear power plant in the country towards boosting the nation’s energy resources.

Accordingly, the two countries have agreed to pull resources together to ensure the development of nuclear power plant for the generation of electricity in Nigeria.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Ayim Pius Ayim, stated the commitment of the Nigerian Government when a delegation of nuclear experts from Nigeria and Russia paid him a courtesy call.

He said the Nigeria Government takes seriously the option of using nuclear power for electricity and was delighted and appreciative of the interest shown by Russia to help Nigeria solve its electricity challenges through the application of nuclear power.

While commending the team of experts for fine tuning the details of the cooperative agreement for the development of nuclear power plant in Nigeria, he promised to set up a steering committee to look into the agreement and work out a document for presentation to the President and the Federal Executive Council for final approval. He stressed that before the end 2011, a draft agreement will be signed and officially endorsed by the Nigeria Government.

Leader of the Russian delegation and Deputy Director-General of ROSATOM, Mr. Nikolay Spasskiy, said Nigeria and Russia are two friendly and strategic countries who have worked together on many international issues and so Russia decided to assist Nigeria in her effort to develop nuclear power for electricity and other peaceful applications.

While calling for the cooperation of the government of Nigeria in the implementation of the agreement, Mr. Spasskiy said the Russian Federation is serious and committed to keeping its part of the agreement which was finalized this week.

Spasskiy said Nigeria should be a strategic partner of ROSATOM on the design and construction of Nuclear Power Plant in Nigeria.

He noted that electricity is a catalyst for any development and that Nigeria cannot afford not to diversify its sources of energy adding that, “what happened in Japan will not deter us from moving forward in recommending nuclear energy to solve global power problems.”

He invited Nigerian specialists in the nuclear power to visit their Company in Russia and prayed the Minister as a foremost Nigerian scientist to use his good offices to resolve the Nigeria electricity problems.

Earlier, the Chairman/ CEO, Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), Dr. Franklin Erepamo Osaisai , said that to address the problem of epileptic power supply in the country, the Nigeria Government had set up and mandated NAEC to explore and exploit the use of nuclear power for the generation of electricity and the socio- economic development of the country.

To achieve this, NAEC had developed a strategic roadmap which was endorsed by the Nigerian Government and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to develop nuclear power plant in the country.

Dr. Osaisai said that the path to the agreement which started in June 2009 was finalized in July 29, 2011 by a team of experts from both Nigeria and Russia and hoped that when implemented, the agreement will facilitate the development of nuclear power in Nigeria.

About the Author