Sunday, July 31, 2011

Russia Woos Nigeria on Nuclear Power Plant

Russia woos Nigeria on nuclear power plant

Monday, 01 August 2011 00:00
From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja
Nigerian Guardian

UNDETERRED by growing global concern over the application of nuclear technology for power generation, the Russian government has intensified pressure on Nigeria to adopt the technology to solve its power challenges.

To this effect, a high power delegation from the country was in Nigeria to meet with key government officials to explore the possibility of a nuclear power project for the nation.

Led by the Director-General of the Russian State Corporation (RUSATOM), Mr. Nikolay Spassy, the team visited the ministry of science and technology where it also preached its message of safe use of nuclear for power generation.

At the visit, Nigeria’s Science Minister, Prof. Ita Okon Bassey Ewa recalled that both countries in 2009 signed a cooperative agreement, noting that the pact was hardly implemented.

He stressed that in recognition of the urgency to turn around the power sector, Nigeria had ventured into exploring other sources of electricity. This desire, he added, led to the mandate given to the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) to explore nuclear energy for electricity generation.

The minister said: “To remedy the poor action in the implementation of the agreement, follow up meetings are now being initiated to discuss the modalities for its implementation. A major component of the agreement is the design and implementation of the nuclear power plant.”

He disclosed that a draft project implementation agreement had been prepared and ready for signing by officials of Nigeria and Russia.

In his presentation, the Mr. Spassy reiterated that the benefits of nuclear power and sought the collaboration of Nigerian in the development of a power plant to generate electricity for the country.

This, he added, would be based on mutual trust between both countries.

His words, “Russia has a track record in the area of nuclear energy. The peaceful use of nuclear power is the bedrock of development, and the achievement of the goal of Vision 20,2020 of the Federal Government would depend heavily on the development of nuclear power plants in Nigeria.”

In another development, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has called on the German engineering company- SIEMENS, to venture into hydro-power generation in Nigeria.

NERC’s helmsman, Dr. Sam Amadi, who spoke in Abuja, when he received a team from the company in his office, said: “We are looking forward to Siemens to obtain a license to operate not just as an engineering procurement contract handling company but own a power plant.”

Speaking on behalf of the team, Ms. Sophia Armauski, described the visit as a follow up to the recent visit by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

She said, “the original idea was for German companies to bring their expertise in exchange for oil and gas. The chancellor was here recently and met with President Goodluck Jonathan. It was agreed there was the need to bring more life into the relationship. We are looking forward to new opportunities, that is why we here.”

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