Rosatom has identified nuclear energy as the catalyst Nigeria needs to get industrialised, given the current underperformance of its power sector.
The company said many first world countries today leveraged nuclear energy to attain their industrialised status.
The Communications Director, Rosatom Central and Southern Africa (Pty) Limited, Ryan Collyer, said this on the sidelines of the Future Energy Nigeria conference in Lagos.
He said the negotiations between Rosatom and the Nigerian government for the establishment of a nuclear power plant and a nuclear science and technology centre in Nigeria have reached an advanced stage. The Russian firm signed the project development agreement in October 2017.
The Federal Government had set up working groups towards the realisation of about 4,000 mega watts of electricity from nuclear power.
Collyer explained that the role of the working group is to work on the configuration and feasibility of the project before negotiations would start.
He said: “For Nigeria that is a growing economy with an aspiration to get industrialised, the country needs a robust energy mix to grow the power sector.
“If you want to grow your economy, industralisation is a child of necessity. In terms of industralisation, you need to produce a lot of raw materials which requires a lot of energy. You need 365 days a year and 24 hours a day to power your industry. You cannot afford intermittent power.
“We are not saying nuclear is the only means of generating power but in terms of substituting the baseload with affordable, environmentally friendly and sustainable power, nuclear energy is the way to go.”
He said Nigeria being a member of the International Atomic Agency, is already subjected to international regulation, saying local regulation have lesser role to play in the aspect of nuclear energy because the industry is a highly regulated one.
With this agreement, Nigeria hopes to construct four nuclear power plants at the cost of $20 billion (more than N6 trillion). The four plants will have a total capacity of 4,800 megawatts by 2035.
According to Vice President Sub-Saharan Africa, Rosatom, Viktor Polikarpov, though the cost of constructing a nuclear power plant is quite high, the cost implications of operating them are quite low.
“The average lifespan of a modern nuclear reactor is 60-80 years. This variable, when taken into consideration, makes the expense of delivering power from a nuclear plant quite low.”
Authored By: Stanley Opara