Nigeria has closed a $20 billion agreement with Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy company, Rosatom. Representing Nigeria, Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission signed the deal with the Russian nuclear energy firm and the latter will build four plants for total capacity of 4,800 MW, Premium Times reports.
At a meeting in Abu Dhabi in October, 2017, Russia signed an agreement with Nigeria to build and operate a nuclear power plant, the first of its kind on the continent, as well as a research centre that would house a nuclear research reactor.
The agreement was a furtherance of a memorandum of understanding signed last year between the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, NAEC, and Rosatom for the construction of four nuclear power plants at the cost $20 billion (more than N6 trillion). The four plants will have a total capacity of 4,800 megawatts by 2035.
Anton Moskvin, Vice President for Marketing and Business Development, Rosatom Overseas (a subsidiary of Rosatom), and Simon Mallam, Chairman of NAEC, signed the agreement on behalf of Rosatom and Nigeria respectively.
I know nothing of the use of nuclear energy in electricity. I mean, I know nothing except what they taught me in Physics in secondary school. But I am concerned because Nigeria cannot even manage a simple goat farm. Now you want to manage reactors. What if budget is delayed for critical maintenance? I mean, our experience with Ogoni disqualifies Nigeria for going into this venture: for all the photo ops for years, government after government, Nigeria continues to neglect the Ogoni people. Who wants its people to suffer the same fate with nuclear if bad things happen?
This is my opinion as a private citizen who can only shout. It does not matter; it is democracy. But if you have access, tell government that if it has $10 billion for electricity, nuclear power is a wrong strategy. Here are simple reasons:
- Cost and Value: If it commits to solar energy with $10 billion, it would get 10,000 MW over 4,800 MW nuclear would bring (I assume 1MW for $1 million which is pessimistic but reasonable).
- Jobs: Solar energy is distributed and would create at least 100x jobs than nuclear. In other words, if nuclear could create 3,000 jobs, going through solar will give Nigeria 300,000 jobs in the process.
- Safety: Solar energy is safer for Nigerian citizens. I think everyone would want it over nuclear energy.
- Transmission: Nuclear power will not fix our transmission line problem. Technically, Nigerian electricity problem is not exclusively power generation to need nuclear energy. There are many gas power plants that can double capacities in Nigeria but the discos cannot receive the power to distribute to consumers because our transmission system is broken. A nuclear power deal does not fix that problem. We can have these four nuclear power stations producing and yet consumers will not have power. Solar, to a large extent through distributed design, would make the need of transmission system minimal since there could be many pockets of solar plants spread across Nigeria.
Please do not attack President Buhari and his party on this, this plan started in 2009. So, he is simply following the Nigerian business. Nevertheless, we do hope he helps us to stop it.
But its nuclear relationship with Russia did not begin until 2009 when both countries signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of the peaceful usage of nuclear technologies. Shortly after, another agreement was signed on cooperation in design, construction, operation and decommissioning of the Nuclear Power Plant and the Nuclear Research Centre housing a multi-purpose nuclear research reactor.
In 2013, Nigeria signed its Country Programme Framework (CPF), a five-year medium-term planning of technical cooperation between a member state and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that identifies priority areas where the transfer of nuclear technology and technical cooperation resources will be directed to support national development goals
In May 2016, the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission signed an agreement with the Russian government for cooperation in the construction of a centre for nuclear science and technology in the country.
They have not mentioned the nuclear sites but I can assure you that this may turn out to be a campaign issue in 2019 election at both the gubernatorial and presidential levels. No Nigerian would want nuclear facility in his or her community. If you think we would not care, you have not visited Federal Secretariat Abuja where most of the toilets have no running water. For nuclear reactors, not having that water can wipe a community. And that is why this deal is not good. This is perhaps the only type of electricity I do not want to use in Nigeria.