NIGERIA’S NUCLEAR PROGRAMME DEMAND-DRIVEN - Dr Egbogah
The Special Advisor to the President on Petroleum Matters and Alternate Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, NNRA, Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah, has described Nigeria’s quest for nuclear technology as not only peaceful, as it is for electricity generation, but also demand-driven. He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the first Coordination Meeting of the Forum of Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa, FNRBA’s, Thematic Group on Regulatory Infrastructure for Nuclear Power Plants in Abuja.
The International Energy Agency, IAE, Key World Energy Statistics Report for 2007, he said, showed Nigeria’s per capita electricity consumption as 136 kWh/capita, less than 25% of African average of 563 kWh/capita and about 5% of world average of about 2,596 kWh/capita. Nigeria with a population of about 140 million people generates electricity far below 4,000 mw, about 28.6 watts per capita.
This is the reason, he said, why the Federal Government of Nigeria took the political decision to introduce nuclear power for the generation of electricity as a major option for the country’s long-term energy security and for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and becoming one of the 20 leading economies in the world by the year 2020.
Dr Egbogah noted that greenhouse gas emissions or ozone layer depleting chemicals and such environmental concerns are virtually absent in nuclear fuel cycle activities as in wind and hydro-power and many times less than coal, oil and natural gas. The complete nuclear power chain from mining Uranium and manufacturing the fuel to constructing and operating the reactor and disposing the waste emits only one to six grams of carbon-dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour, he argued.
He thanked the government of the United States for partnering with FNRBA and promised that Nigeria will be represented at the highest level in the Nuclear Security Summit called by President Barack Obama in Washington on12 and 13 April, 2010.
Professor Shamsideen Elegba, the Director-General, NNRA, and Chairperson, FNRBA, said the Forum wants to establish a robust nuclear regulatory infrastructure for Africa. He appreciated, what he called, the constructive engagement the continent is enjoying with the government of the United States through the U S National Regulatory Commission, NRC.
He said the FNRBA is open to all nuclear regulatory bodies in Africa and is voluntary. The activities of the Forum, he said, presently cover seven Thematic areas of interest and a Working Group was constituted in March, last year to cover each of them. They cover upgrade of infrastructures for Safety in Radiotherapy, Uranium Mining and Milling, Research Reactors, Radioactive Waste Management, as well as in Capacity-building, Legislative and Regulatory Infrastructure and Licensing of Nuclear Power Plants.
US ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Sanders, congratulated the FNRBA and its chairperson for their efforts in promoting nuclear safety in the continent. She described nuclear technology as an important element in the mix of power generation sources that countries are closely looking at as they develop their electricity generation capacity, which is essential for broader economic growth and development.
She said the U S government is pleased that African countries have come together to create the FNRBA to exchange ideas and experiences in building their nuclear legislative and regulatory capacity in an approach, she said, is methodical and systematic.
She pledged the continued technical and scientific support of her government, through the IAEA, to NNRA and Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission, NAEC and said she is delighted to learn that many African Heads of State will be among the 46 world leaders attending the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington to be hosted by President Obama.