News / Africa

Nigeria Plans Nuclear Power for Development

FILE - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
FILE - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
Heather Murdock
On Monday, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said his country intends to harness nuclear energy for development purposes - which to most Nigerians means one thing: providing electricity. But some analysts say that Nigeria should figure out how to keep the lights on with the huge natural resources it already has. 
 
Nigeria’s nuclear aspirations began in 2007, when then-President Umaru Yar'Adua said the country planned to add nuclear power to the national grid by 2017. 
 
The original deadline seems to be off the table, but officials say the plan is still on track.
 
“Nigeria is on course in its plan to have nuclear power that is used for nuclear energy for peaceful use. And one of the things we’ve done is to have the institutional framework in place,” said Eli Jidere Bala, the director general of the Energy Commission of Nigeria.
 
Bala said Nigeria has established a regulator, research facilities and is working with the International Atomic Energy Association.
 
“We are planning between 1,000 megawatts and 2,000 megawatts for the first instance before, very shortly. I know it takes time to plan nuclear. You must plan.  It takes about eight years for planning etc., etc. So we are targeting at 1,000 to 2,000 megawatts,” explained Bala.
 
Nigeria currently has a capacity of just 4,000 megawatts, which means roughly half the country's 160 million people have no electricity at all, and most others only have it for a few hours a day.
 
Nigerian journalist and commentator Wole Olaoye has been covering the power sector here for nearly four decades. He said that since Nigeria became a democracy in 1999, every president has promised to provide electricity for the entire country.
 
“President Jonathan promised us, ‘Oh, in 18 months’ he would do it. Then it became 24 months. Then it became 36 months. Then it became 2014. Now they are saying 2015,” said Olayoe.
 
Even if the government’s plan to add nuclear power to the national grid comes to fruition, he added, he doesn’t think it’s a good one.
 
Oil-rich Nigeria already has more than enough national resources to provide enough power for everyone, he said, but the power sector is wracked with corruption and mismanagement. While the country may have the expertise to develop nuclear power, it doesn’t have the capacity to maintain power plants safely, he added.
 
“We have security problems in Nigeria right now. And I don’t want to think of a situation where we will manage the fallout of a nuclear leakage. With the level of incompetence with which have treated our hydro-power stations, I don’t see us managing nuclear power competently and efficiently,” said Olayoe.
 
Olaoye said introducing anything that could be turned into a weapon of mass destruction into Nigeria, where Boko Haram militants have been fighting the government since 2009, could be extraordinarily dangerous. 
 
Other analysts support the president’s plan, saying nuclear energy can also be used for medical reasons, to make drinkable water from seawater, or for space programs. 
 
Given the amount of controversy that nuclear energy programs can generate, they say, the Nigerian president wouldn’t bring it up if he was not serious.

You May Like

Photogallery Kyiv: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Weeki
X
August 29, 2014 2:18 AM
The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid