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Nigeria to develop nuclear capacity

24 July 2007 —  The ‘This Day’ newspaper in Nigeria reports that President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, has said Nigeria needs to develop capacity for the generation of electricity through nuclear power.

"We need to develop the capacity to utilise nuclear power for power generation. Who knows, nuclear power may be the only source of energy in the future, and we must think of the future,"

The Ministry of Science and Technology has been instructed to include nuclear generation within the overall national policy on power, after a presentation by the National Atomic Energy Commission’s Dr Erapamo Osaisai, titled "National Programme for the Deployment of Nuclear Energy for Electricity generation in Nigeria,"

The president responded "we have to align your work with the national power policy, taking cognisance of other sources of energy generation – oil, gas, hydro, wind and solar."

However, the Ministry was instructed to consider whether the current regulatory framework allowed for nuclear, especially with regard to funding the large capital outlay that would be required for nuclear generation.

The director general of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Professor Shamsudeen Elegaba, said with the 3,000 MW that Nigeria currently generates, nuclear power is no longer an option but a necessity. He added that in order to achieve the UN’s Millenium Development Goal’s, Nigeria needed approximately 30 000MW of capacity.

"I believe that government will buy into this option, because it is one of the seven-point agenda of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. In fact, he said it this way; "the economy, the economy, the economy," when he was at the G8 meeting. And to drive the economy, you need electricity. You cannot run your factories on pedal-driven energy sources. You will require more stable just like hydro or nuclear," he concluded.