Koeberg nuclear power plant
A source at the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission named Akwa Ibom state and Kogi state as locations for the nuclear power stations. Pic credits: Eskom Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant

On Friday, Russia’s state-owned Rosatom, which has been in talks with the Nigerian government over the country’s new nuclear power build, confirmed that two sites have been selected for the planned construction that will have a total of four reactors.

According to Reuters, neither the Nigerian government nor Rosatom would say where the sites would be located. However, a source at Nigeria’s nuclear agency, Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), said the sites would be located in Akwa Ibom state, in southeast Nigeria and in the Kogi state, in the central northern part of the country.

Cost of nuclear power generation

One nuclear power plant costs between $5 billion and $8 billion (ZAR60 billion– 97 billion), a source at Rosatom said. Nigeria has not yet said how it plans to fund the construction – a key question given its finances, which have taken a hit after a slump in the price of oil, its main export commodity.

Nigeria has no experience in developing and operating nuclear plants but has small research reactors producing around 30KW.

According to the Nigerian Ministry of Power and the NAEC, the first Nigerian nuclear plant is to be constructed and to start operating by the year 2026.

Nuclear power disaster preparedness

In further news, on Saturday the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) stated that it has commenced a specialised corps unit aimed at dealing with nuclear disasters should the threat occur in Nigeria.

The specialised unit [the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Unit], established to tackle emergency situations related to chemical poisoning and nuclear explosions, has also carried out a simulation exercise as part of its operational strategy, claims the NSCDC.

The simulation – “transportation accident involving a radioactive source” – is designed to prepare officials to react and act accordingly.

“The Commandant-General of the Corps, Dr Ade Abolurin, has also stressed the importance of the unit, and called for awareness on the destructive tendencies of nuclear energy if not well-managed,” the NSCDC reported.

The exercise was carried out in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nigeria Nuclear and Regulatory Agency, with the IAEA pledging support to Nigeria in terms of provision of operational tools and equipment.