OSINBAJOThe Federal Government is exploring nuclear technology as well as other alternative energy sources as part of its bid to scale up power generation and supply across Nigeria.

Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo made the disclosure on Monday while receiving a delegation of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) led by its Director-General, Dr. Erepamo Osaisai, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to Osinbajo, besides working towards improving power generation from the national grid, renewable energy is being pursued. “We definitely need a mix of energy choices because in the next decade such a mix will be imperative,’’ he said, stressing that solar power option is also being considered by the Muhammadu Buhari-led government.

Dr. Osaisai who presented a report on the Implementation of Nuclear Power Programme for Nigeria, conducted in partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the Vice President, disclosed that plans are in top gear to make nuclear power plants in Nigeria to generate power in excess of 1,200 megawatts (Mw).

He added that the nation’s nuclear power energy programme was on course to diversify power sources beyond gas and hydro bases following an integrated nuclear infrastructure review conducted by the IAEA in the country last June. “Our nuclear power plants are huge machines. And what we are planning is, each of the power plants will be generating power in excess of 1,200 Mw. Being a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and a member of the IAEA, Nigeria has the responsibility to utilise nuclear power in the safest way possible. What Nigeria is doing, as we can tell, is diversifying our energy generation base beyond gas and hydro to include other sources for which nuclear is also being considered,’’ he said.

The chairman said the United Nations (UN) nuclear watchdog made recommendations that could help Nigeria develop its nuclear power projects. “They (IAEA officials) have made a final report in which there are specific recommendations, suggestions and also identifying good practices in the implementation of our own nuclear power programme in the country.

“That is the report they (we) came to submit to Mr Vice President. It’s quite a serious task and responsibility for a country to implement a nuclear power programme and what we do at the NAEC is to take leadership in building the pertinent nuclear power infrastructure,’’ he stressed.

According to Osaisai, NAEC has a nuclear power road map “which is being approved by government and that is what we are implementing’’.

He said in the implementation of the road map, the organisation needed to build critical nuclear power infrastructure and enter into partnerships with international agencies and other technical partners.

“The mission of the agency in June was to assess our level of preparedness and readiness in the building of this national nuclear power infrastructure. And we’ve done quite well. I think there are specific recommendations that would also strengthen our own effort in the country.’’

On the commission’s facility in Ile-Ife, the chairman said it was a “tandem accelerator “for practical physics, which could be used to implement a number of things including environmental studies.

“That is not directly in the power area, but it is a machine or equipment that will be useful for nuclear education, training, and research as well as for development in the country. We are putting it to good use; it is working fine; we have been able to conduct a number of studies.”

By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)

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