The governments of Nigeria and Russia have signed a memorandum of understanding that will help pave the way for the construction of a centre for nuclear science and technology in Nigeria.
The MOU was signed at the ongoing 2016 ATOM Expo in Moscow by representatives of the two countries, the director of Russia’s Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation, Sergey Kirienko, and the chairman of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, Dr Erepano Osaisai.
ATOM EXPO is the largest exhibition and business venue for meetings and negotiations of the world leaders in nuclear energy. The agreement was the highpoint of the EXPO.
Following the signing the agreement, Dr. Osaisai stated that the Nigerian government wanted to acquire nuclear technology in order to provide the country with clean energy and improve citizens’ access to electricity. He also admitted that although the project would come with a huge cost, the cost of not having clean energy and adequate electricity would be higher regardless.
Dr Osaisai pointed out,
“Nuclear acquisition has come to stay. It is well known that it contributes quite a chunk of global electricity.
“Although Nigeria does have other sources of energy, but this is about a balanced and diversified energy basket. Nuclear happens to be the one we considered.
“The preference is because it is environmentally friendly and leads to a better conservation of other resources.”
Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, Nikolay Udovichenko said in turn,
“Bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and Russia is blessed with huge potential in every avenue. Nuclear energy development is another area with good prospects for our two countries.”
The ambassador added that Russia is seeking to promote more trade between the two countries. News of this development comes two months after President Muhammadu Buhari attended the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. Nigeria was first in Africa to establish a research reactor when in 2004, it enabled a Chinese-origin research reactor at Ahmadu Bello University. The country is also reportedly seeking collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, to develop plans for up to 4,000 MW of nuclear capacity by 2027.