18 March 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Yukiya Amano has said the agency was ready to begin the transfer of nuclear technology to Nigeria for energy development purposes, even as he appealed to Nigeria to use nuclear technology responsibly.
Speaking in Abuja after extensive meetings with government officials including President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Amano stated that IAEA regards Nigeria as an important partner, hence, the agency wanted to transfer nuclear technology which it is convinced, would not be used adversely.
Amano said, “IAEA, as a responsible international agency, wants Nigeria to use nuclear power for peace and development.”
He declared that his visits to one of the nuclear power sites, and consultations with officials of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, NAEC, has convinced him that the country was prepared to develop its nuclear capacity for energy purposes.
Amano further remarked that while nuclear is vital in addressing energy challenges in many countries of the world, there is always negativity around it owing to its use in warfare.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing has reiterated the commitment of the government to diversify its energy mix beyond the traditional sources of gas, oil and hydro.
He said the government was also diversifying to include nuclear and other renewable sources like solar, biomass and wind.
The minister commended the Nigeria and its team of experts for the research works and human capacity building efforts in this specialized field, urging it not to relent in the crusade of making Nigerians deploy the safe use of the technology.
“You must begin to break down the seeming complex issues around nuclear power into simple terms and language that our people can understand, we must try to demystify issues around nuclear power in Nigeria,” he said, adding that the nation cannot afford to be left behind in the acquisition of appropriate nuclear technologies.
The minister added that Nigeria had developed a comprehensive nuclear law currently awaiting legislative inputs at the National Assembly.
Fashola assured that government would strengthen the capacity of the regulatory regime. He noted that the procurement activities for the first nuclear power plant with generation capacity of 1,200MW of power to the national grid by 2025 would be done as scheduled.
The two sites selected by the commission are located in Geregu in Ajaokuta Local Council of Kogi State and Itu council area Akwa-Ibom State.
“These projects are to be financed through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) policy for infrastructural development in the country with the target being to increase it to 4,800MW by the year 2035,” he noted.
Fashola commended the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission and its team of experts for the research works and human capacity building efforts in this specialized field.
He Fashola challenged atomic energy experts to do more in the area of public enlightenment as many Nigerians have limited knowledge about the use of nuclear technology for power.
“You must begin to break down the seeming complex issues around nuclear power into simple terms and language that our people can understand, we must try to demystify issues around nuclear power in Nigeria,” he said.