Nigeria can’t afford nuclear technology now – NIEEE

Oscarline Onwuemenyi
16 April 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (NIEEE) has spoken out against the Federal government’s plan to exploit nuclear energy to boost power supply in the country.

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.

The Federal government recently hosted the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mr. Yukiya Amano, who was in the country to assess the country’s preparedness to develop nuclear energy in order to improve power supply which has been at dismal levels over the years.

The association stated that apart from it inherent dangerous nature and difficulty to manage, nuclear energy was unaffordable and suggested that the country should consider exploring other alternatives, such as coal and solar energy, to boost power generation and not nuclear technology.

According to a statement signed by the national chairman of the NIEEE, Emmanuel Akinwole, the association said that “Nigeria lacks a system that promotes a maintenance philosophy to engage itself in such a high discipline project as is required by nuclear energy.”

Akinwole noted that nuclear energy is expensive, adding that nations like Europe are scaling down on the use of nuclear technology due to the associated risks and costs.

He further highlighted that in the past, almost all projects of that size in Nigeria were either not completed or could not be managed and sustained.

Akinwole then recommended that focus should rather be on projects that could boost the country’s economy, which are not properly managed, including the Ajaokuta steel mills, aluminium smelting plant, Nigerian paper mills, electricity distribution and generation companies.

He advised that, “The Federal government should discard the idea of deploying nuclear technology in the generation of power for now and rather focus its resources to unlocking the approximately 5,000MW of generation capacity that is nearing completion.”

In a separate statement, during a meeting between the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and stakeholders in the power sector, it was disclosed that about 150MW of power at the Odukpani National Independent Power Plant is stranded.

The ministry’s permanent secretary, Louis Edozien, instructed the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company to fast-track the distribution of the stranded power to lines and sub-stations.

However, according to the media, the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited is already working on plans to distribute the stranded megawatts to customers in Calabar and Ikot Ekpene following the directive.

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