Russian and Nigerian Government collaborated to build nuclear energy in Nigeria in order to help the country reduce power outages, improve industrial capacity and further grow its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), ROSATOM Central and Southern Africa Chief Executive officer, Dimitry Shornikov, has said.
ROSATOM is Russian Government-owned nuclear energy firm, and it specialises in the production and generation of nuclear electricity for countries in Europe and others.
In an interview with The Nation in Lagos, Shornikov said Nigeria’s power is one of the poorest in Africa, adding that the two power sources namely gas and hydro are unable to produce electricity megawatts, the country requires for growth. According to him, a lot of misconceptions surround the production of nuclear energy, noting that it has been proved over time that nuclear energy is the safest of all energies produced globally.
Nuclear energy, Shornikov said, is highly regulated and controlled, a development, which left credence to the fact that it is well managed and not prone to dangers contrary to the notions held by many Nigerians.
He said the two forms of electricity are not affordable, adding that the development informed the decision by ROSATOM to partner with the Federal Government on how it can provide nuclear electricity in the country.
Shornikov said: “When compared to the production of hydro and gas electricity with that of nuclear energy, they are expensive and unreliable. These problems are not present in nuclear energy.”
He said it would be difficult to provide the cost of producing nuclear energy in Nigeria because sizes and configurations of the nuclear plants are not the same. This is not like gas turbine that is manufactured to generate a particular number of megawatts (Mw) of electricity.
“There are lots of variables that need to be considered in the process of configuring nuclear energy plants. The variables are in relation to the size of the plant, the volume of energy the plant would produce,” he added.
He said though the cost of producing nuclear may be prohibitive, its benefits outweigh the cost because it is environmental friendly, reliable and regular.
Shornikov said: “The negotiations for the establishment of science and nuclear energy centre between Nigeria and Russia has reached an advance stage. The two parties are working together on how to proceed on the issue of establishing the centre in Nigeria.
“On safety issues, one of the misconceptions associated with nuclear energy is lack of safety. My aim is to compare it with air travelling. Most people see air travelling as the most dangerous. However, it is the safest in the world. It is the most regulated and controlled sources of energy. There is the need to educate stakeholders on the importance of nuclear energy, brief them that it is the safest.
“On cooperation with Nigerian Government, it started in 2009 but it is in 2017 that we signed an agreement on it, which set the tone for further discussion on production of nuclear energy and its plants.
“Electricity stability and regularity is a big issue in Nigeria. There are concerns. There are power outages, which affect the country’s GDP. One source of energy that is available is nuclear energy. It is environmentally friendly compared to gas power.