Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Nigeria’s existing nuclear technology agreement with Russia will not just enable the former generate more electricity for her domestic economy, but also help improve her healthcare; science; industry and agriculture sectors, Russian State Nuclear Energy Corporation Rosatom has stated.
According to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rosatom Central and Southern Africa, Dmitry Shornikov, both countries’ agreements on cooperation in the design, construction, operation and decommissioning of the Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) and the Multipurpose Research Reactor Complex (MRRC) will create an economic advantage for Nigeria beyond electricity production.
Shornikov, said this in a speech he delivered at the recent 15th edition of the Future Energy Nigeria Conference and Expo in Lagos recently.
He highlighted and defended the benefits of nuclear energy to Nigeria, adding that peaceful use of atomic power to develop Nigeria would serve the country well.
He noted that access to stable and affordable electricity was one of the biggest challenges to Nigeria’s industrial revolution and sustainable economic growth.
Quoting the World Bank Enterprise Survey, he pointed out that electricity was the second overall business obstacle and first business obstacle for over half of large firms in Nigeria.
The survey, he added, showed that 70 per cent of large firms on the average experience 44 electrical outages per month in Nigeria for an average 11 hours, and which often resulted to lose of one-fourth of their annual revenue.
He explained that another World Bank study had shown that outages reduce direct exports of African firms by six to 12 per cent.
“Shortage of sustainable and affordable energy sources make it difficult for African nations like Nigeria to implement its strategic industrialisation goals, this against a background of growing urbanisation as well as demands for employment and modern infrastructure.
“The importance of the industrial sector in a country’s economic development cannot be over-emphasised,” Shornikov stated.
He added that: “Within the past recent years Russia and Nigeria signed agreements on cooperation in the design, construction, operation and decommissioning of the Nuclear Power Plant and the Multipurpose Research Reactor Complex (MRRC) on the territory of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“These agreements provide for appointment of authorised organisations for the projects’ development and implementation and determine their framework. Considering the project on construction of the Multipurpose Research Reactor Complex, this complex will ensure wide application of nuclear and radiation technologies in healthcare, science, industry and agriculture in Nigeria.”
According to him: “The MRRC will bring various economic advantages such as new technological industry platforms, national industry development, improved regional investment climates, agricultural export growth, new jobs as well as increased life expectancy and improved quality of life for Nigerian population.”