WITH the setting up of near term targets of nuclear power contribution to national electricity generation, Nigeria is to achieve a minimum of 1000 mega watts (MW) online electricity by 2020 to 2022, with upgrade to a minimum of 4,000 MW in 2030.
The Federal Government of Nigeria is said to have activated a Nuclear Power Programme (NPP) and has approved the road map for its implementation, as the national strategy for the implementation of the approved programme has been finalised with the assistance of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The roadmap for the deployment of nuclear power plants for electricity generation in Nigeria and its strategic implementation plan has a technical framework with a three-phase plan aimed at positioning Nigeria to generate electricity from NPPs in 10 to 12 years with considerable national participation as envisaged that its meticulous implementation will achieve NPP commercial operation.
Commissioner, Nuclear Power Plant Development, Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), Prof. M.N Agu said this while delivering a presentation on ‘Status of Nuclear Power in Nigeria,’ in Lagos, recently.
He pointed out that an enabling environment is being created to sensitise the financial and investing community on the business opportunities in the national long-term nuclear power development, adding that the implementation of various components of the programme is on course including preliminary sitting and activities.
Noting that availability of qualified manpower is the most important and critical factor that will guarantee success and sustainability in the implementation of the programme, he said educational programmes and facilities are being developed to improve the needed human resource base as the industrial sector is being engaged and encouraged to brace up for effective participation.
According to him, “the requisite structure for the prosecution of the national nuclear power programme are being put in place by the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, in partnership with other relevant stakeholder
institutions and international development partners.
“Government has shown commitment by taking on the responsibility for infrastructure and manpower development to create the requisite enabling environment for the successful implementation of the programme in partnership with the private sector.
“The NPP project implementation has attained stage one, which is comparable to milestone one of IAEA and we are currently in stage two. The management framework for the implementation of the National Nuclear Energy Programme has been streamlined to achieve better synergy as all relevant nuclear energy training and research institutions have been placed under one umbrella,” he said.
He attributed challenges facing the project to include national human capacity, which he said, is inadequate and as such international support will be required for the preparatory phase on NPP technology under consideration, contractual and bids process and detailed site characterisation to be finalised.
On bilateral discussions, Agu mentioned that Nigeria has signed Memorandum of Understanding with the Russian Federation on the development of nuclear energy in Nigeria.
He said, “there are other bilateral discussions and relations between Nigeria and the following agencies–South Korea Agencies (co-ordinated by the Korean Embassy in Nigeria) –Private Companies in France, AREVA and NUCADVISOR, with Support from French Embassy in Nigeria.
On public outreach, he said that NAEC is developing appropriate ways and means of communicating effectively with the public to prepare their minds to be more receptive to the introduction of nuclear power in the country.
The major issues for communication he added, include the economic advantage of generating electricity from NPPs vis-à-vis other sources and the relative environment-friendliness of nuclear power plants compared to fossil-fired plants, and other spin-off benefits.
“Factual and concise appreciation and presentation of the relative risks entailed in the utilisation of nuclear technology vis-à-vis other competing technologies.
“Also proper assessment of various accident/emergency scenarios in relation to inherent safety features of NPP and the national technical preparedness to manage situations, as well as, the national plans for nuclear waste management.
Agu emphasised that partnering with relevant agencies and media houses to develop and produce documentary films, town hall meetings, information bulletins and pamphlets on the benefits of the national NP programme are also planned.
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