Nigerian Senate Makes Case For Nuclear Energy

As the federal government of Nigeria presses on with its plan to diversify the nation's energy mix - with inclusion of nuclear energy technology from Russia, the Nigerian Senate has also called for the inclusion of nuclear power into the country’s energy mix.

This was part of the resolution reached by the upper chamber recently following a motion by Senator Tanko Al-Makura representing Nassarawa South senatorial district.

The Senate noted that the primary sources of energy for the production of electricity in Nigeria includes gas, hydro, oil and coal, with current power generation capacity of 7000 mega Watts.

The lawmakers noted that experts using modern energy modeling tools had estimated that for the Nigerian economy to grow at the rate of 10 percent, the country’s electricity requirement by 2020 will need to reach 30,000MW, and by 2030 it will be 78,000MW.

The red chamber agreed with the notion that nuclear energy is one of cleanest and safest source of energy in the world today and nuclear power generation does not produce greenhouse gases.

The lawmakers also hinted that they are aware that in 2006, Nigeria ratified critical treaties with International Atomic Energy agency (IAEA) Vienna Austria, with the aim of enabling Nigeria access nuclear power into the country’s energy mix.

Recalling that the Nigeria and Russian Federation signed bilateral agreements on nuclear energy cooperation, the Senate pointed out that the recent visit by President Muhammadu to Russia was a move in the right direction to stimulate implementation.

Worried that power outages in Nigeria have constituted the major constraint to the development of the manufacturing sector and negatively affect the cost of running business in Nigeria and ultimately the economy of the country, the Senate opined that unless the energy mix in Nigeria is broadened to include nuclear energy, the persistent power outages being experienced by the country will not be easy to address.

Accordingly the upper legislative chamber resolved to:

1. Urge the federal government to reposition the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority to enable it to carry out its mandate of ensuring safety, security safeguards and physical protection of nuclear materials including hazardous waste in Nigeria.

2. Urge the federal government to re-engineer, refocus and recognize the Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission with the mandate to ensure timely contacts and negotiations with nuclear vendors for construction of nuclear power plants with time line.

3. Urge the federal government to expedite action on the Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards Bill currently with the Senate; and

4. Pass into law all treaties and protocols on nuclear energy as ratified by Nigeria.

Recall that in 2017, Russia's state-owned nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom and Nigeria signed agreements for the construction and operation of nuclear power plants and nuclear research centre in Nigeria.

Last month, African countries were advised to embrace nuclear research and energy to empower and grow their economies.

The advice was given at the African Nuclear Business Platform conference that took place on Tuesday, 15 and Wednesday, October 16 October in Nairobi, Kenya.

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