US to assist Nigeria, others on nuclear power.
By Obinna Ezeobi, Published: Tuesday, 23 Mar 2010
The United States of America has pledged to assist Nigeria and other African countries interested in generating electricity from nuclear sources. The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Robin Sanders, who made the pledge on Monday in Abuja at a meeting of the Forum of Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa, said that the US would render the assistance through the International Atomic Energy Agency, working with the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority and Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission.
Sanders said the US was pleased that African countries had come together to create the FNRBA, which would help them exchange ideas and experiences in building their nuclear legislative and regulatory capacities. She explained that “developing a safe and reliable nuclear power is a major undertaking that requires long-term planning and development and a huge investment for any country. “The United States is appreciative that the FNRBA is taking a methodical and systematic approach in helping member states develop the foundation for the safe and reliable application of nuclear technology.”
The ambassador further stressed that every country must recognise the risks associated with the application of nuclear technology and the importance of safeguarding nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands.
Nine countries, including Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Nigeria are members of the FNRBA. Other member countries are South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania and Tunisia.
Delivering his opening address, the Special Adviser to the President on Petroleum Matters and the Alternative Chairman of NNRA, Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah, said about 20 African countries were at various stages of implementing nuclear power programmes.
He explained that the high number of African countries and other considerations led Nigeria to spearhead the formation of the FNRBA.
He noted that Nigeria was aware of the prevailing international anxiety over nuclear security and proliferation of nuclear weapons. To allay the fears, Egbogah invited the international community to share with Nigeria and other African countries how to pursue the utilisation of nuclear energy for power generation in a peaceful and safe manner.
In his speech, the Director General, Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Prof. Shamsudeen Elegba, noted that the workshop was aimed to sharing experiences as Africa, outside South Africa, took the first deliberate steps in the generation of electricity from nuclear power plants.
According to him, the objectives of the forum are to “provide a platform for fostering regional cooperation, provide for the exchange of expertise, information and experience, provide opportunity for mutual support and coordination of regional initiatives and leverage the development and optimization of resource utilization.”