Years later, govt selects two sites for 2,400Mw nuclear power plants

The cooling towers of the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The cooling towers of the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

18 June 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – After many years of planning, the Federal Government through the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) announced that it has selected two sites for the construction of nuclear power plants in the country that could generate up to 2,400 megawatts (mw) of power.

The sites, Geregu in Kogi State and Itu in Akwa Ibom State, were selected after careful consideration of some critical features, and after several years of planning and evaluation, the Commission said.

The Chairman of NAEC, Mr. Erepamo Osaisai, who disclosed this during a presentation yesterday at the plenary of the Phase 2 Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission in Abuja, said part of its progress is the concluded preliminary site selection activities and “detailed evaluation and characterization to be conducted on preferred sites on the approval of government in Geregu, Ajaokuta Local Government Area of kogi State and Itu in Itu LGA of Akwa Ibom State.”

The commission added that training and capacity building for building and operating the plants are ongoing while it has developed a framework to establish a ‘National Nuclear Insurance Policy and Scheme’ to “adequately address the civil liability of component for the Nuclear Power industry in conformity with the 1963 Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage.”

Sweetcrude Reports had reported in April that NAEC was holding talks with Russia’s Rosatom Corporation to build four nuclear power plants costing about $20 billion (about N3.9 trillion) which would generate 4,800 megawatts (mw).

According to Erepamo, the plants will be co-financed by Rosatom, which will then build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) them to the government.

He noted that the preliminary licensing of the approved sites is expected by the end of 2016 from the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) which is currently developing the licences’ procedures.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Dr. Godknows Igali, said government’s intervention in the power sector includes the diversification of the electricity sources from the present 80 percent gas and 20 percent hydro to integrate nuclear power to meet its target of generating 20,000 megawatts (mw) by year 2020.

“With NAEC’s plan to inject 1,200mw from first nuclear power plant in 2025 and increase to 4,800mw in 2035, the energy mix is expected to have increased to about 20 percent power generation from clean sources,” Igali said.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr Mikhail Chudakov, who led the agency’s delegation on a two-week trip to Nigeria, said Nigeria should be prepared to take adequate responsibility for the safety culture and for safe operation of a nuclear power in the country.

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