The President, Chairman and CEO of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, Simon Pesco Mallam, has stated that the west African country has every intention to add nuclear to its energy mix.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Mallam said: "We have a roadmap and that is by the mid 2020s, we hope we can get a commercial plant and add three more in five to 10 years."
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He further highlighted that power generation is still very poor in the country, and even gas that was touted as better has now become problematic.
“We can't supply gas to our IPPs and gas pipes are being sabotaged daily. We need to move from the former way of doing things into the future," he added.
On a question of partnering with Russia on the development, he said: "We have a good agreement with Russia, but we have not signed any contractual agreements yet. We have signed operational agreements, project development agreements, but not any commercial contractual agreements."
Faults reports on nuclear deal
Mallam refuted reports that Nigeria had signed multi-billion dollar agreements.
“Some newspapers have been claiming that we signed a $20 billion contract with Russia. But I want to tell you categorically that this is not true. We have only cooperation agreement with Russia, and we are hoping that if all works well, we would develop the infrastructure and eventually sign a contractual agreement with them,” he stated.
He was referring to reports that in October 2017, Nigeria signed a deal with Russia for the construction of two nuclear power plants.
According to reports, Nigeria began talks with Russia's State Atomic Energy Corporation, Rosatom, in April 2015 to collaborate on design, construction and operation of four nuclear power plants by 2035, the first of which was planned to be in operation by 2025.