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Nigeria, Ghana seek infrastructure development through nuclear energy

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Chairman of the Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission (NIGATOM), Professor Simon P. Mallam and Director General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Professor Benjamin Nyarko, have said the African region needed to focus on infrastructure development through clean nuclear energy.

They stated this at the 10th international ATOMEXPO Forum in Sochi, Russia, with the theme: Global Partnership- Joint Success.

Praising nuclear energy as the way forward, Nyarko revealed that they have converted from highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium with the process that would cost about $20 million.

Mallam pointed out that both countries were still using research reactor, adding that it was their desire to add to the research reactor as soon as possible, as this would enable them to undertake groundbreaking research in advanced capacities.

Nigeria has been trying to include nuclear power in its energy mix for a while now to meet the increasing demand for electricity and support its economic development and has been developing its nuclear power infrastructure for several years, with plans to fully introduce nuclear power by 2024.

While revealing that 1.2 billion people still do not have access to energy while 2.7 million people rely on biomass as a source of energy, Africa accounting for over half the figure, Andrii Gritsevskyi of the Department of Nuclear Energy, International Atomic Energy Academy (IAEA), added that two million deaths occur yearly due to air pollution.

Quoting a 2016 report, he said coal (38per cent), natural gas (23 per cent) and hydro (17 per cent) still make up most of the world’s energy sources, insisting that these need to change while more countries need to switch to green nuclear energy.

Admitting that most of the resistance to nuclear energy stemmed from misinformation and rumours, Jeremy Gordon, an advisor with the World Nuclear Association (WNA) said the world needed clean nuclear power and there is an urgent need to create an effective safety paradigm to bolster communal support and acceptance.

Director General of the State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM; Aleksei Likhachev, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano and Director General, OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), William D. Magwood IV, among others, are attending the forum.

Meanwhile, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) and Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) have entered into partnership to monitor dangerous substances being released into the environment.

The partnership would ensure effective policing and development of appropriate environmental management tools to curb air pollution, especially radionuclides, which occurred in some cities recently.

Director General of NESREA, Dr. Lawrence Anukam, who spoke during a visit to NNRA, said there was the need for the two agencies to work together to implement regulations.

He called for teamwork for adequate environmental monitoring as contained in National Environmental (Energy Sector) Regulations and to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) compliance.

Responding, Director General of NNRA, Prof. Lawrence Dim Anikwe, commended NESREA for bringing both agencies together to ensure safe and healthy environment for Nigerians.


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