- On October 30, 2017, Russia and Nigeria signed project development agreements
- The agreement was for the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant and a research center
- Nigeria's huge spending on off grid diesel generation has made the power plant and research center absolutely necessary
Nigeria is currently spending roughly $14 billion a year on off grid diesel generation, according to experts estimation.
Legit.ng gathered that over half of the country's population has no access to grid-connected electricity and those who are connected to the grid suffer extensive power outages.
Nigeria’s current installed capacity is estimated at around 12,500 MW, only half of this is operational, and only about 5,000 MW reaches the grid.
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Restricted output has been blamed on gas supply problems, water shortages, grid constraints and breakdowns.
Shedding light on the need for Nigeria to diversify its current energy mix, Dmitry Shornikov, CEO, Rosatom Central and Southern Africa.said: “Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa, however, its power sector is performing far below the level of an economy of this magnitude.”
He noted that the existing energy mix is made up mostly of peaking facilities (hydro and gas turbine power plants), which will certainly benefit from the addition of sustainable baseload generation.
His words: “It is clear that Nigeria needs to diversify its energy mix in order to overcome these challenges and that all available generation options should be explored and utilized.”
Shornikov was however keen to stress that there are three important factors that should be considered when designing the optimum energy mix.
“The energy trilemma as it’s otherwise referred to, is made up of economics, security of supply and environmental impact. Nuclear is one of the only power sources that is capable of ticking all three boxes and is therefore crucial to help balance any energy mix,” he said.
On whether Nigeria is ripe for nuclear energy, Shornikov said: “Nigeria is most certainly following all the correct steps to be ready for nuclear power. The Nigeria government has shown firm commitment to introduce nuclear power into its energy mix. As part of the government’s programme to deploy nuclear power plants for electricity generation in the country, the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission was activated in April 2006.”
He added: “One of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) guidelines for newcomer countries envisages assistance to adapt national energy grids for special requirements of reliability and safety, taking into consideration the share of nuclear energy in the energy mix.
“The development of energy grid has importance not only in the context of Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) construction, but also for the entire national energy system, because a reliable grid will prevent the loss of electricity and allow for the effective distribution of electricity.
“If a country that wants to develop nuclear programme does not have adequate grid infrastructure, it should follow the IAEA guidelines in order to rectify this. Rosatom is also able to consult on the development of an appropriate national grid infrastructure.”
He further revealed that in the summer of 2015, the IAEA conducted two missions to Nigeria in support of its nuclear programme.
“These missions found that Nigeria’s emergency preparedness and response framework was consistent with IAEA safety standards, and that the country needed to further refine its policies and strengthen capacities on the management on nuclear initiatives,” he said.
Nigeria and Russia started their partnership in nuclear power development in 2009 by executing an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of the peaceful usage of nuclear technologies.
Since then, intergovernmental agreements on cooperation in design, construction, operation and decommissioning of a Nuclear Power Plant and a Nuclear Research Center housing a multi-purpose nuclear research reactor were signed.
On October 30, 2017, Russia and Nigeria signed project development agreements on construction and operation of a Nuclear Power Plant and a Research Center housing a multi-purpose nuclear research reactor on the territory of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The parties also signed a roadmap for cooperation in the field of peaceful usage of nuclear technologies.
Meanwhile, nuclear energy development has been proffered as a sustainable and eco-friendly solution to Nigeria's perennial electricity shortfall.
Rosatom, Russia's state owned nuclear energy corporation, which is also the global leader in nuclear power plant services - made this known in a statement sent to journalists on Wednesday, May 16.
The statement added that electricity generated from nuclear energy has a bright future in Nigeria’s energy mix. This, it stressed is borne out of the fact that Nigeria's existing overdependence on hydro and thermal power plants can’t meet growing electricity demand and forecasts – from households and businesses.
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