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April 20, 2010

Ohakim, American firms sign MoU on nuclear power generation

Washington D. C—Imo Governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, at the weekend in Washington D.C. US, signed Memorandum of Understandings, MOUs, with three American companies.

The companies are Barnett Holding Company, Foxcor Incorporates and Patten Boggs Inc.

The MOUs are for the installation of nuclear modular reactors for generating electricity, provision of mass housing and conversion of palm trees into plywood, respectively.

The development is part of the new lease of life offered by the just concluded visit of Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to the U.S.

Ohakim, who was among the Acting President’s delegation, said the agreement on modular reactors would go a long way in solving the perennial power problem facing his state.

Mr John Barnett of Barnett Holding Company signed on behalf of his company, Mr John Fox, for Foxcor Incorporates, while Roy Lessy and Robert Horn, signed on behalf of Patten Boggs Inc.

Speaking on the occasion, Ohakim said his government had taken a bold step at solving the perennial energy problem facing Imo State.

“You know our people are very industrious and they are technologically minded, but the lack of energy and power has almost brought the economy of our country to its kneels,” Ohakim said.

“The good thing about this technology of nuclear modular reactor is that it is a short time measure that you don’t require fuel until after seven years of its use and it can be deployed primarily to energy spots.

They will be deployed to Owerri township, the new city development in Ogwu town, where we are citing most of our industrial ventures and other industrial and civic centres, which would require between five to 20 megawatts respectively,”  he added.

The Director General of the Nigerian of Nuclear Regulatory Authority, NNRA, Prof. Babatunde Elegba, who witnessed the event, commended the step taken by Ohakim.

“Most of our industrial estates are going down because of lack of power. Using diesel is not sustainable and you cannot compete with anybody. You will recall that Michelin moved out of Port-Harcourt two years ago to Ghana due to power problem.

Last year, Dunlop also moved to Ghana. Now they manufacture tyres in Ghana and bring them to Nigeria because the difference in cost of production is about 20 percent due to adequate power supply in Ghana”,  he said.

Elegba said NNRA had done a lot of studies over the past two years on the nuclear modular reactor technology and found it satisfactory and environmental friendly.

He said what was needed to be done was to ensure that the nuclear materials were not diverted for military purposes and that the installations were secured in terms of physical protection and safety of the personnel.

“It is an on-the-spot technology, it does not require transmission lines and American has done wonderfully well in this area of technology development”, Elegba said.