Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to diversify the energy mix beyond the traditional sources of gas, oil and hydro to include nuclear and other renewable sources like solar, biomass and wind.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, who spoke while receiving in audience the visiting, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mr. Yukiya Amano, commended the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) and its team of experts for the research works and human capacity building efforts in this specialised 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.
While challenging atomic energy experts to do more in the area of public enlightenment, Fashola noted that 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.
He added that the nation cannot afford to be left behind in the acquisition of appropriate nuclear technologies.
On the part of the Nigerian government, he disclosed that a comprehensive nuclear law is with the National Assembly, and would be enacted soon.
He also assured that government will do everything 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 1,200 megawatts of power to the national grid by 2025 would be done as scheduled.
The UNION reports that the two sites selected by the NAEC are located at Geregu in Ajaokuta Local Government Area of Kogi-State and Itu Local Government Area of Akwa-Ibom State.
The projects are to be financed through the Public-Private Participation (PPP) policy for infrastructural development in the country with the target being to increase it to 4,800mw by the year 2035.
Speaking earlier, 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 emphasised 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 NAEC, 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.