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By Our Correspondent: Recently in Abuja Nigeria, Russia’s state owned nuclear corporation Rosatom and the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) held a Joint Coordination Committee for the implementation of the Nigeria-Russia agreement on peaceful application of nuclear energy. The key objective of the Joint Coordination Committee which was headed by Dr. Franklin Erepamo Osaisai, Director General, NAEC and Mr. Kirill Komarov, First Deputy Director General of Rosatom was to establish an agreement that will outline the key elements of the responsibilities of both parties. This agreement aims to clearly define the milestones that need to be reached by each party to ultimately ensure both parties achieve their common goal of building nuclear facilities on the territory of Nigeria. Speaking on the side-lines of the Joint Committee, Mr Komarov noted that in June 2012 Nigeria and Russia had signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation for the design, construction and decommissioning of nuclear power plants on the territory of Nigeria. “We are extremely proud of the fact that the first nuclear power plant (NPP) in Nigeria will be built with Russian nuclear technology and we will do our very best to achieve this goal.” In 2016 the similar agreement was signed on the cooperation in construction of the Center for Nuclear Research and Technology. The construction of the Center is a first and an important step towards the development of Nigerian nuclear programme. In particular, the Center is aimed at developing specialist and finding new applications of nuclear technologies in science, medicine, agriculture and other vital spheres. “A research centre can be built with a far shorter timeline than NPP, and will create a solid base for the future nuclear development of the country. We hope to have all the contracts for this research facility signed in the first half of 2018.” It was the second meeting of the committee. There are five technical Working Groups (WG) handling specific areas of the agreements. They include the one on human resources development, the nuclear infrastructure, siting of nuclear power plants, financing, and another on the legislative and regulatory framework. Komarov noted that Nigeria had huge economic potential and is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies but needed to increase its installed capacity to truly realise its full potential. He went on to note that with a population of over 170 million people the country had an installed a capacity of roughly 6.6 GW, by comparison Russia has a population of 140 million and installed capacity of 220GW. Less than 50% of households in Nigeria have access to electricity, while the country remains one of the most difficult for businesses to gain access to the grid. He noted that nuclear power is a reliable, environmentally friendly and an affordable source of base load power. “More importantly it is very predictable. NPPs do not need large amounts of fuel unlike traditional sources of energy, which run on hydrocarbons. This is undeniable advantage of nuclear energy. If the price of uranium doubles for instance, the cost of electricity produced by nuclear will only increase by roughly 3%, if the price of gas doubles the cost of electricity produced by gas would go up by as much as 70%. This is very important for both big business and private consumers,” said Komarov.
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