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Nigeria to Prepare for Nuclear Power Programme: IAEA Director General Visits Abuja


IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

The IAEA will continue to support Nigeria in the introduction of nuclear power, Director General Yukiya Amano told Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari this week. The country plans to have its first nuclear power reactor ready by 2025.

Mr Amano encouraged the Nigerian authorities to continue the preparation of a comprehensive nuclear law by the end of this year and to strengthen the regulatory framework in light of the planned nuclear power programme. He emphasized that nuclear power is a long-term national commitment that requires strong leadership and a robust legal and governance framework. Mr Amano recommended that Nigeria strengthen its human resources for the construction, operation and maintenance of the plant. 

In the summer of 2015, the IAEA conducted two missions to Nigeria in support of its nuclear programme. These missions found that Nigeria’s emergency preparedness and response framework was consistent with IAEA safety standards, and that the country needed to further refine its policies and strengthen capacities on the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste.

Cooperation with the IAEA

Mr Amano also met the Ministers of Health, of Power, Works and Housing, and of Science and Technology to discuss the many applications of nuclear technology in the country. He praised the ongoing collaboration between the IAEA and Nigeria in areas such as nuclear medicine, food and agriculture.

As a recent example of this cooperation, an ion beam accelerator installed with the IAEA’s help started operations at the Obafemi Awolowo University Centre for Energy Research and Development (CERD) in Ilé-Ifẹ̀, in south-western Nigeria. The accelerator will allow specialists to analyse and modify natural and industrial materials. It has already attracted the attention of students from various institutions, and the Centre will also use it as part of its outreach programme to attract more students to science and technology, his counterparts told Mr Amano.

Nuclear medicine is a high priority for Nigeria. Following an IAEA-led ImPACT mission in 2011 to assess cancer control in the country, Nigeria set up a framework for a cervical cancer screening programme and created medical centres for breast cancer diagnosis.

Nigeria was the first stop on Mr Amano’s two-week visit to Africa. He was due to travel to Ghana, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.

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