Nigeria has sought the support of the IAEA to develop plans aiming to produce nuclear energy by 2025 with 4,800 MW of capacity by 2035. More recently, in April 2015, Nigeria began talks with Russia’s state-owned Rosatom to collaborate on the design, construction and operation of four nuclear power plants by 2035. The first of which will be in operation by 2025. In June 2015, Nigeria selected two sites for the planned construction of the nuclear power plants. The nuclear plants will be sited in Akwa Ibiom State, in South Nigeria, and Kogi State, in the central northern part of the country.
Nigeria’s pursuit of nuclear energy cooperation deals with potential international suppliers. Nuclear discussions with Russia started in the late 2000s with the signing of several cooperation agreements on a range of nuclear related activities, with the most recently signed in 2017 with Rosatom to provide a new research reactor and a full nuclear power generation plant. Also, Nigeria and China have a proposed memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore the nuclear subject in 2018.
Which NPP model?
Nigeria favors contracting with one of the suppliers countries who provide the Build-Own-Operate (BOO) model. This means foreign suppliers (e.g., Russia or China) would not only construct nuclear reactors in Nigeria, but also operate the plants for decades and maintain some portion of their ownership for a designated period of time before they would be transferred fully to Nigerian ownership and operations. Current plans indicate that the government expects the same country that supplies its nuclear reactors to help shape its approaches to nuclear safety, security, and fuel cycle issues.
The proposed structure of the NPP Owner/Operating Organization will depend on government policy on nuclear power generation and financing mechanisms. Ownership structure being proposed would be a Special-Purpose-Vehicle (SPV) in form of a Joint Stock Company (JSC). So, the financial model being proposed would be a Build-Own-Operate (BOO) or Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) model depending on government policy on NPP.
Nigeria have bi-lateral cooperation with many countries around the world such as the US department of Energy and US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Russian Rosatom, National Nuclear Regulator of South Africa, Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety, SBJK from the Czech Republic, the Indian Atomic Energy Control Board, and the Pakistani Nuclear Regulatory Authority.
As an important step toward achieving its targets, Nigeria hosted an international Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review in 2015. This standard process evaluates a country’s preparedness in security, safety, emergency response, fuel cycle plans, and more than a dozen other issues. The full report is not public, but the Nigerian government released the following action areas based on the IAEA’s recommendations:
- Nigeria should enact a comprehensive nuclear law
- The regulatory framework should be strengthened
- Fine-tune process and expectations and establish national specifications for the NPP prior to the conclusion of key agreements
- Plans to finalize the structure of relevant organizations and their human resources should be developed
The insights provided above are taken from the discussion following NBP conversations: Nigeria Nuclear Update on 27 August 2020, This virtual meeting has been a great opportunity to showcase Nigeria’s latest nuclear energy updates. The webinar saw the participation of:
- Dr. Yau Idris, Director General, Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority
- Dr. Abubakar Malah Umar, Director, Nuclear Science & Technology Department, Energy Commission of Nigeria
- Dr. Nasiru-Deen Adebayo Bello, General Manager – Nuclear Safety, Physical Security and Safeguards, Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority
NBP Conversations is a series of online discussions which brings together a focus group of global nuclear stakeholders to discuss topics related to either nuclear energy adoption or expansion in the global markets. Thematic discussions could focus on either macro or micro issues.
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