To tackle its power challenge, the Federal Government is partnering ROSATOM, the Russian government-owned nuclear agency. In a recent interview with The Nation, ROSATOM’s Central and Southern Africa Chief Executive Officer Dmitry Shornikov said Nigeria is serious and on course to utilize nuclear energy as part of its energy mix in the near future.
When asked about the level of seriousness Nigeria attached to the issue of producing nuclear energy, he said; “The government is making steady progress on the issue. This is evident by the aggrement which the country signed two years ago in relation to this issue. We believe that the Federal Government’s gesture would culminate in signing more agreements in the immediate future; that is, the agreements would lead to siting of nuclear energy plants and production of electricity in Nigeria, reputed to be biggest economy in Africa.”
Asked whether he felt Nigeria is serious about nuclear energy, he noted; “Yes, a whole lot of things must be on ground before any country can actualise or practicalise the use of nuclear energy. First, is a well articulated policy, which spells out the reasons behind the issue of generating nuclear power, the megawatts, which the country intends to generate, the distribution and transmission capacity and others as contained in infrastructural provisions of that country in particular. A well-structured infrastructural guideline, are required to ascertain the level of seriousness, which either a public or private entity is having in the course of producing nuclear energy for growth. For instance, the nation or government, which intends to provide nuclear electricity for its people must have taken a position on the issue, showing a reasonable level of involvement of its key stakeholders in the project; prepare its legislative and regulatory; ditto providing a strong human resources and safety programmes. Others include provision of a bigger funding and financing structures, sites for the construction of nuclear plants, among others.”
Asked when Nigeria and ROSATOM would sign an agreement, he said; “The two parties are holding discussions on the issue of production of nuclear energy for growth. Discussions between Nigerian and the Russian Government on the issue have reached an advanced stage and hopefully would lead to success in the long run. ROSATOM would be more interested in building nuclear energy resource centres, a development, which would further take the cooperation between the two organisations forward soon. Other things that would be taken into considerations include building of nuclear power plant(s), among others, and we are hoping that the partnership between Nigeria and ROSATOM on the use of nuclear energy would provide some benefits to the two countries.”