The Nigerian government has stressed its commitment to engage the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and relevant stakeholders, in ensuring safe application of radioactive materials in its quest for power generation to drive economic growth. The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke stated this in Abuja at a workshop on Design Basis Threat (DBT) organised by the country’s nuclear power regulatory body, Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), in conjunction with the IAEA, the world governing body for nuclear activities.
According to Nigerian daily, ThisDay, the minister said Nigeria’s choice of power generation from nuclear sources would come with various challenges that require urgent attention as the nation has had no experience with nuclear power generation.
“A very key factor is the issue of security of radioactive sources and nuclear materials in various applications, the decision of the government of Nigeria to harness nuclear technology for electricity generation will definitely present a new set of challenges for NNRA in terms of manpower development due to the peculiarities of the nuclear power programme,” Alison-Madueke said.
Consequently, the country has put in place adequate measures aimed at developing it’s internal capacity in threat assessment, systematic strengthening of security of nuclear material and other radioactive sources and facilities in the country, in line with existing international regulations and standard.
In his remark at the workshop, Mr. Muhammed Khaliq, an IAEA official, stated that the DBT workshop, which the agency usually provides to its member countries, is aimed at disseminating information about nuclear energy development.
“IAEA, besides other activities, helps the member states to identify the threats and vulnerability related to the security of nuclear and other radioactive material,” he said.
“Physical protection systems are intended to prevent unacceptable consequences arising from malicious activities and in this regard there is no room for lacklustre attitude because the more serious the consequences, the more important it is to have a high degree of confidence that physical protection will be safe and effective as planned,” he added.
Nigeria, Africa’s second largest economy has been pushing to increase power generation through various sources to drive economic growth. Today, its state-owned oil energy corporation, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) disclosed it had achieved sufficient gas supply for its planned Gas-to-Power project.
The country has also privatized its state-owned electricity body, Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in the bid to raise funds from the private sector for sufficient power generation and distribution.