Thursday, 12 June 2014

Federal Government sets up panel on nuclear energy.

Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
The Federal Government on Thursday began moves aimed at diversifying from the sole reliance on hydrocarbons like oil and gas to nuclear energy.

The aim is to make nuclear energy a viable alternative in efforts to meet up with growing national energy needs.
Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the Economic Management Team presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo.

Okonjo-Iweala said to achieve the aim a committee was constituted at the meeting with a mandate to develop a framework for the inclusion of nuclear technology in Nigeria’s “energy mix.”

The minister said the committee, under his leadership, was saddled with the responsibility of working out a time-frame within which to get the nation running on nuclear energy.

The Director-General of Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogwu, added that the committee was also expected to develop a financing plan for the project to make it a bankable business model that Nigeria’s international development partners could buy into.

He said, “In this country we use gas and we depend on hydro electricity. The purpose today was to see how we can expand the base to diversify a little bit, may be to include nuclear down the road.

“We do have the Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission, which is leading this. The whole idea is to see how they are preparing so that few years down the road, we will be in a position to perhaps commence the use of nuclear energy to generate electricity.

“As part of the outcome of this meeting, the VP set up a committee chaired by the CME and a good number of people are part and parcel of that to develop a framework and also to look at the financing and how we might be able to develop this so that it becomes operational at some point.

“So from the beginning we are going to develop a business model that ultimately would bring out what you can call a bankable project that people can begin to look at the training, the capacity building the sensitization and all other things that surround the use of nuclear energy.

“Of course, you need international community and we are already in the process of engaging with those bodies. So the idea today is to kick start it and see how we can go down the road in the few years.

“CME explains, so it is a medium plan, it is not something for the immediate. You must look at Nigeria of the future five, 10 years down the road. You have to start somewhere now, that is the whole idea.”

Former Governor of Anambra State,  Peter Obi, said the meeting also discussed plans to make Nigerian ports more friendly in terms of accessible roads and clearance of goods.

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