July 19, 2016

IAEA backs Nigeria’s use of Uranium for power generation, says it poses no threat

By Soni Daniel

Abuja – With a declaration by the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, that the use of Uranium by Nigeria to generate electricity does not pose any security threat, the country appears set to explore the possibility of attaining that feat in no distant time.

The Senior Nuclear Security Officer, IAEA, Mr Robert Larsen, said at a National Training Course on Nuclear Security for the Uranium Extraction Industry in Abuja on Monday that the exploration of uranium in Nigeria does not pose any threat to global security.

Larsen said, “I don’t think so; I have no reason to believe that at all. As a matter of fact I believe Nigeria is a good nuclear partner and that is why the agency is here to see how we can assist in uranium extraction.”

Bolstered by the position of the international nuclear watchdog, the Federal Government indicated that it would commence moves to generate electricity from nuclear materials, particularly through the exploration, exploitation and utilisation of uranium.

It was part of the effort to clear the way for the attainment of the goal that the Federal Government brought in top experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency to conduct a week-long training for nuclear practitioners and security officers in the country on the extraction, exploitation and utilisation of the substance.

At the ceremony, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said that it was imperative for the country to exploit available resources in order to meet its power needs.

Fayemi, who was represented by a Deputy Director in the ministry, Mr. Wuyep Karnap, said, “Last week at the National Council on Power conference in Kaduna, the issue of uranium for power generation was actually canvassed as a vital component in the energy mix equation.

“So this training is coming at the right time where capacity to explore, exploit and utilise uranium for power generation and other uses cannot be overemphasised. And apart from the exploration, exploitation and utilisation, the security and health aspect of uranium needs to be taken care of, and that is why we have security delegates here.”

The Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, NNRA, Prof. Lawrence Dim, explained that the latest training would expose participants to the technicalities in Uranium use for power generation since Nigeria does not have the relevant technology to do so at the moment.

He was quick to say that the use of uranium does not pose any threat to the country, adding, “Uranium exploration in Nigeria is quite safe. We have not had any cause to find out that there is any high level of radiation or exposure relating to that.

“The issue is that the uranium we get in our soil is the natural uranium; although it has radioactive material, the concentration is low. So we don’t have any situation where the level of radiation coming out from it is detected to be harmful.”