Challenges Experts on Domestication of Issues Around Nuclear Energy
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN, has reiterated the commitment of Government in diversifying its energy mix beyond the traditional sources of gas, oil and Hydro to include nuclear and other renewable sources like solar, biomass and wind.
The Minister, who spoke while receiving in audience the visiting, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mr. Yukiya Amano, 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 urged the Commission to leave no stone unturned in letting Nigerians know that nuclear energy is for peace hence it could be used for developmental purposes in engineering, medicine, environmental protection, security, agriculture and food security.
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, adding that the nation cannot afford to be left behind in the acquisition of appropriate nuclear technologies.
On the part of the Nigerian Government, he said a comprehensive nuclear law is with the Parliament and would be enacted soon just as he assured that Government will do all within its power to strengthen the capacity of the regulatory regime.
According to the Minister, all 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 Nigeria Atomic Energy commission are located in Geregu in Ajaokuta Local Government Area of Kogi-State and Itu Local Government Area of Akwa-Ibom State. These projects are to be financed through Public-Private Participation policy for infrastructural development in the country with the target being to increase it to 4,800MW by the year 2035.
Speaking earlier, the visiting Director-General of the International Atomic Agency, Mr. Yukayi Amano, informed the Minister that the IAEA regards Nigeria as an important partner, hence the Agency wants to transfer nuclear technology which it is convinced, would not be used adversely. He emphasized that IAEA, as a responsible international agency, wants Nigeria to use nuclear power for peace and development.
Giving the nation’s score card in nuclear activities, the Chairman of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, Dr Erepamo Osaisai, said that Nigeria has made remarkable progress in the development and strengthening of activities in the diverse and specialized areas of Nuclear Energy, such as energy planning, peaceful use of nuclear for industrial, education, research works, medicine and power generation.
He pledged that his commission will continue to drive efforts in the area of technical know-how, manpower and capacity building for the overall development of nuclear technologies in Nigeria.