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Nuclear power – a very dangerous idea for Nigeria

Is Nigeria ready for nuclear power? Greg Odogwu, Punch, 5 May 16  For more than one year now, the Nigerian government has been playing around with the idea of acquiring nuclear technology for electricity generation. It started at the twilight of the past administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, when it was reported that his government signed an agreement with a Russian company, Rosatom, to cooperate on the design, construction, operation and decommissioning of an atomic power facility.

Then, two months ago, President Muhammadu Buhari received the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mr Yukiya Amano, at the Presidential Villa with the Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo and some key ministers, where it was reported that the President told the IAEA boss that Nigeria welcomed the support of the agency for our country’s aspiration to generate electricity using nuclear energy……

How could one even start to imagine that our dear country, with all the infrastructural lapses, zero maintenance culture and poor leadership could handle a nuclear project of whatever size? Nuclear power is not tea party, it is not a try-fail-and-repair project, and, seriously, it is not a matter of my-government-is-better-than-yours!……

The Nigerian government must be reminded that no matter the size or purpose of a nuclear plant, accidents do happen with radioactives and the effects of uncontrolled radioactive contamination are reported around the world, with many unreported. We can never be prepared enough.

Secondly, ours is a country in a serial battle against insurgents and anti-government elements. These individuals over the years have used all sorts of weapons to fight both the government and the people. We have seen cases of improvised bombs made in people’s bedrooms. We have also seen sophisticated shoulder-launched anti-aircraft guns wielded by these insurgents. We have seen them poison water reserves to kill civilians as a maximum impact strategy.

Now, what prevents insurgents from invading Nigeria’s nuclear facilities to acquire materials for dirty bombs? Even on the Internet, one could learn how to string together radioactive elements with conventional explosives for terror purposes……..

if Nigeria starts a nuclear plant, where shall we dispose our nuclear waste? As the plant begins operation, enormous quantities of radioactive waste are created during nuclear fuel process, including high-level radioactive waste, and low-level radioactive waste. Even a country as sophisticated as the United States finds it excruciatingly hard to dispose of its nuclear waste. Official and carefully groomed repositories are commissioned and decommissioned accordingly.

These are no waste products you throw away like we throw away our hazardous hospital waste in poor people’s neighbourhoods. Once you throw away nuclear waste carelessly, be sure that both the poor and the rich will suffer immensely………

Nigeria has so much sun that could readily give us 4,000 mega watts with less money than we would spend setting up a hazardous nuclear plant to generate same quantum of power………

May 6, 2016 - Posted by | general

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