- Nigeria is inching closer towards diversifying its energy mix with the inclusion of nuclear energy
- Minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola, is leading Nigeria's strides towards the attainment of that goal
- Fashola says it is imperative for Nigeria to lay emphasis on the gains and safety of nuclear energy
As Nigeria continues to battle with epileptic power supply and other energy challenges, minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola, is optimistic that Nigeria is inching closer towards diversifying its energy mix with the inclusion of nuclear energy.
Underscoring the need for Nigeria to diversify its energy mix with inclusion of nuclear energy, Fashola said it was imperative for Nigeria to lay emphasis on the gains and safety of nuclear energy as obtained in other advanced nations.
He further stressed nuclear energy would lead to sustainable development, stressing that nations have moved towards adoption of cleaner and more sustainable energy sources, which nuclear energy provides.
He, however emphasized the need for Nigerians to be properly informed about the capacity that has been developed in Nigeria’s nuclear industry; stating that focus should be on information sharing as people are scared of things they don’t understand.
The minister further assured Nigerians on the safety and benefits of nuclear energy, stressing it should be adopted for development and peaceful purposes - with a view towards attaining sustainable development goals.
In October 2017, Nigeria and Russia signed several agreements on the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant as well as a nuclear research centre housing a multi-purpose research reactor.
The Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) signed the agreement on behalf of the Nigerian Government; while ROSATOM, Russia's state owned nuclear energy provider, signed on behalf of the Russian federation.
The deal was reached after long period of negotiations, with both countries signing their first intergovernmental nuclear co-operation agreement in 2009.
Faced with rapidly increasing baseload electricity demand, the federal government in 2007 approved a technical framework for a nuclear power programme seeking the support of the IAEA to develop plans for up to 4000 Mega Watts of nuclear capacity by 2025.
This eventually paved the way for signing of Nigeria's first intergovernmental cooperation agreement on nuclear with Russia in 2009.
Subsequently, agreements on the design, construction, operation and decommissioning of an initial nuclear power plant was made.
Two sites, at Geregu in Kogi state and Itu in Akwa Ibom state, were confirmed in 2015 as preferred sites for Nigeria's first nuclear power plants after evaluation by the NAEC.
According to World Bank figures, with approximately 80 million people lacking access to grid electricity, Nigeria has the largest access deficit in Sub-Saharan Africa and the second largest in the world, after India. The national electrification rate is 55 percent, and the rural electrification rate is only 39 percent. Nigeria hopes the proposed nuclear power plants will help deal with the country's energy deficit.
Officials of Nigeria's Nuclear Regulatory Agency and the Atomic Energy Commission recently participated in the 10th edition of ATOMEXPO.
The international forum seeks global partnerships on peaceful uses of atomic energy and was held in the Russian city of Sochi, between May, Monday 14, to Wednesday, 16.
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