Nigeria: Environmental Rights Action warns govt. on decision to build nuclear power plants citing safety concerns

Author: Premium Times, (Nigeria) , Published on: 20 August 2019

‘Group urges Nigerian govt to reconsider nuclear energy plan after Russia accident’ 15 August 2019

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has warned that Nigeria’s decision to build nuclear power plants to augment the poor power situation in the country will result in mishaps similar to the Arkhangelsk region explosion in Russia last week which led to a spike in radiation levels and mass evacuation of communities near the facility. Last week, Russian scientists were working on miniaturised sources of nuclear energy when a rocket engine exploded. The explosion killed five people and caused radiation readings in neighbouring cities to spike to 20 times above their normal level in half an hour.

…ERA/FoEN, in a statement issued in Lagos, said the Russian incident should send a clear signal to the Nigerian government to back out of any further nuclear experimentation which the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) it signed with Rosatom to build nuclear plants in Nigeria. Under the arrangement, Rosatom will build nuclear power plants in Kogi and Akwa Ibom states. Akinbode Oluwafemi, ERA/FoEN deputy executive director, said: “Once again we have another reason to ask the Nigeria government to halt the nuclear misadventure spearheaded by the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) without the consent of Nigerians.” Mr Oluwafemi said it was disturbing that at a time the global community is pursuing clean and safe energy options including wind and solar technologies, Nigeria is choosing to embrace nuclear power ”which is neither clean nor safe nor cheap.”

We have not shown sufficient capacity to manage our hydro and gas-fired plants yet we are plunging into the uncharted waters of nuclear power. This plan should stop immediately. The Nigeria-Rosatom deal was brokered on the sidelines of the VIII International Forum ATOMEXPO 2016 which held May 30 – June 1, 2016, in Moscow including talks of construction of a Centre for Nuclear Research and Technology in Sheba-Abuja. A PREMIUM TIMES’ investigation, last year, revealed the appalling condition of the centre. The agreement provides for the construction of a centre with the two-circuit pool-type reactor of the Russian design and a nominal power rating of 10 MW in Sheba-Abuja. Four nuclear plants that ROSATOM will build will cost about $80billion, with the first expected to be ready by 2025. The other three will be ready by 2035. “We restate our aversion to throwing nuclear plants into the energy mix in Nigeria,” Mr Oluwafemi said.

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