The Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) has said that an energy demand study, which it conducted in 2010, had projected that by 2020, Nigeria would be generating 1,500 megawatts (MW) of electricity from nuclear sources.
ECN’s Deputy Director/Head, Energy Linkages and Research, Okon Ekpenyong, said this in Abuja during a presentation at a recent inauguration of a media programme, the ‘Africa Starboard’ which aims to promote positive conversation on the use of nuclear technology in Nigeria.
Ekpenyong, who called for more diversification of the country’s energy sources, said that gas-to-power may not be sustained in operating the many thermal plants in the country.
He noted that at seven per cent growth rate, which is in the 2010 energy study, Nigeria should have attained 1,000MW this year if it had built the nuclear plants that were planned.
He also urged foreign investors to key into the incentives in the power industry, which include zero per cent duty on equipment importation; five years tax holiday for pioneer status firms; and a cost-reflective feed-in tariff for alternative energy as developed by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) had in June said that it would partner with a Russian firm to build nuclear power plants of over 4,000MW capacity by 2025.
NAEC also listed Geregu in Kogi State, and Itu in Akwa Ibom State as the selected sites to host the pioneer nuclear plants.
Already, reports indicate that about 11 per cent of the world’s electricity supply is from nuclear sources.
Apart from energy, the technology is also said to enhance works in medicine; agriculture; and water resources.
However, Nigeria nuclear plans are coming after South Africa is already generating significant electricity with nuclear technology. Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Ghana and Kenya also have plans for varied capacities.
Meanwhile, the promoter of Africa Starboard which seeks to enlighten Nigerians on use of nuclear technology, Mrs. Unekwu-Ojo Achile said at the flag-off that many Nigerians are sceptical about the government’s announced plans for nuclear.
“They feared for their lives, livelihood, environment and future – a clear indication that the word nuclear has a negative connotation which is not supposed to be.”
“On this Starboard, we shall advocate, educate, mediate, consult and engage every partner towards advancing the positive use of nuclear technology in Africa.
“To many, the word nuclear’ makes people scared but we want to talk to people and make them understand that nuclear technology is powerful and can bring about positive transformation,” she said.
“Once we have it, the problems we have about epileptic power supply will be reduced. That is why we want to make the public understand that with the addition of nuclear power technology, there will be more empowerment,” she added.
While speaking about the cost of nuclear energy projects, Achile said that there are international organisations and banks willing to finance nuclear projects in Nigeria.
“It is not a project that the country can run by itself especially in financing; but there are international banks willing to finance,” she added