FG, research centre partner to deploy nuclear reactor for power generation

In partnership with the Centre for Energy Research and Training (CERT), the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) says there are plans to deploy a nuclear reactor for power generation.

Yusuf-Aminu Ahmed, chairman of NAEC, spoke on Thursday at the 20th anniversary symposium of Nigeria’s first nuclear research reactor-1 (NNR-1) in Zaria.

Ahmed said Nigeria’s accumulated expertise in nuclear power positions the country well for advancing to the next stage of power generation using the technology.

“We have used the reactor for research and development over the years and now we are going to use the reactor for the purpose of generating electricity,” the chairman said.

“President Bola Tinubu has already given the commission a mandate to see how it contributes in the clean energy sphere of Nigeria and [how] the nuclear energy programme of Nigeria would participate.”

He said the project’s timeline would not be publicly disclosed, adding that international partners and vendors are working closely with the commission on the initiative.

Ahmed said intergovernmental agreements have been concluded with some vendors regarding nuclear power in Nigeria, noting that the president would make the announcement soon.

In his remarks, George Akume, secretary to the government of the federation, said the 20-year safe operation of the nuclear research reactor demonstrates Nigeria’s commitment to the safe utilisation of nuclear energy.

Akume said the procedures involved in operating a nuclear research reactor are similar to those required for establishing a reactor that would produce electricity.

“President Tinubu has re-echoed the need for having nuclear energy into the sources of electric power generation in Nigeria and Nigerians should look forward to this power,” he said.

“Electricity generated through nuclear energy is clean and safe except for human errors or natural causes such as the one that happened in Hiroshima.”

Also speaking, Sunday Jonah, director of CERT, said the occasion was held to commemorate two decades of safely operating, maintaining, and utilising the first nuclear research reactor known as NNR-1.

The director, however, expressed concern over a scheme by NAEC to take control of the centre from the university through the proposed NAEC bill of 2022.

This, he said, would contradict the vision of the individuals who established the centre within universities to foster a culture of research and development.

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