09 July 2014, Lagos – Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), which will, this week, continue its discussion with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) over the connection of nuclear power plants to electricity grid, has said that Nigeria will require $900 billion to generate adequate electricity in the next 30 years.
NAEC, which is putting in place plans to generate 1,000 megawatts from nuclear energy by 2020 and 4,000 megawatts by 2030, stated that in order to achieve the goals and objectives of the energy sector, Nigeria would need to increase its investment in energy infrastructure.
The Director General of NAEC, Dr. Osaisai Erepamo, who disclosed this, said: “Estimates using international benchmarks suggest $900 billion will be required over the next 30 years to achieve the specific sector targets – $550 billion for power and $350 billion for oil and gas — which include maintenance cost.”
Erepamo disclosed that Nigeria had an abundance of most of the energy sources, which included fossil fuels, hydro, solar, tidal, geothermal, biomass and nuclear, for power generation which, if properly harnessed, could meet the country’s energy needs and generate export revenue.
NAEC boss lamented that Nigeria’s per capita electricity generation was among the lowest in the world, limiting economic growth and productivity due to impact on practically all other sectors.
He pointed out that consideration of Nuclear Power Programme (NPP) and its successful implementation would address the important and critical elements of long-term national energy security and sustainable development.
Erepamo said: “Implementing a new NP programme is a daunting task which requires a serious national commitment over time and a properly structured national institutional framework for sustainability; the challenges are serious but surmountable.”
According to him, about two-dozen physical projects for the emplacement of the requisite nuclear power infrastructure for education, training and research were at various stages of completion in the seven NAEC-supervised nuclear energy research centres.
Some preliminary site selection activities, he stated, had been concluded and two suitable sites had emerged for which detailed evaluation and characterisation studies would be conducted on the approval of the Federal Government.
NAEC boss, who further informed that the sites were located in Geregu/Ajaokuta Local Government Area of Kogi and Itu in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, added: “Successful completion of the key NPI elements of the programme will create the enabling environment for the participation of suitable international nuclear power plant vendors and partners to participate in the national NPP programme.
“Expectedly, the funding of these elements (NPI) of the programme shall remain the responsibility of the Federal Government as approved by Federal Executive Council (FEC) in 2007; and the expected ownership/financing model for the actual construction of the nuclear power plants would entail a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT).
“These are part of the Commission’s discussions with our development partners. We finalised Safety and Regulatory Requirements for Licensing of Sites for Nuclear Power Plants. The National Policy on Radioactive Waste Management has been finalised by NAEC,” he stressed.
Erepamo, while responding to questions from the Deputy Director General, Technical Cooperation, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mr. Kwakiutl Aning, at Nuclear Power Facility in Sheda, Abuja, said that NAEC had been having meetings with TCN to iron out the grey areas that could cause difficulties in the transmission from nuclear power plants.
According to him, there are stringent more requirements for nuclear power plants due to the magnitude of their output, maintaining that having power plants ready without provision for transmission would pose a major hiccup in its electricity value chain.
He stated: “We have been having interesting meetings with TCN. In fact, I think in another week the team from that agency and our team will be meeting to map out where there could be difficulties.
“This is because the requirements for a nuclear power plant make it more stringent than other power sources because of the quantum of output from the nuclear power plant. That is a serious one and I think as you have the power plants ready and you don’t have the transmission to absorb it; that will be a major setback,” he added.
According to him, Nigeria had attained IAEA Milestone 1 of 3 since December 2009 and was now strengthening cooperation with the IAEA and other development partners.
Aning, it was gathered, had requested to know whether the commission had considered the grid alongside development of the nuclear power plants.
IAEA boss had noted that although the grid may not be as expensive as the power plant, Nigeria’s plans should go together to avoid mismatch of the two.
He said: “The grid structure had been looked at together with the development of the power plant. Otherwise, it will be ready and the grid cannot handle it. It is a parallel programme and it should go together. I don’t think the cost of the grid could be more than the power plant itself. These factors come to play as we move on.”
Aning, who noted that NAEC had done most of the basic work for nuclear power, however, said much more was needed to be done to ensure safety since nuclear power involved a very complex technology.
– Daily Newswatch