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Russia & Nigeria sign pact for building N-plants, uranium mining

russiaA memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Russia’s Rosatom Deputy Director General Nikolay Spassky and Special Adviser to the Nigerian President Emmanuel Egbogah, in Moscow during the third meeting of the Russian-Nigerian Intergovernmental Commission on Economic and Scientific Technical Cooperation recently.

The agreement for cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy includes the construction of nuclear power plants and establishment of uranium mining in Nigeria.

Rosatom said that the MoU could lead to bilateral cooperation on the development of nuclear energy infrastructure, including on nuclear power plants and research reactors in Nigeria. Russia would also assist Nigeria in the field of nuclear research and in the production and use of radioisotopes. The memorandum also covers the joint prospecting and development of uranium deposits in Nigeria.

The two countries will draft a full intergovernmental cooperation agreement soon. To solve the increasing electricity demand, Nigeria has sought the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency to develop plans for up to 4000 MWe of nuclear capacity by 2025. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and its power demand is expected to reach 10,000 MWe by 2007 – current grid-supplied capacity is 2600 MWe.

In March 2008, the Minister of Science and Technology said that the government has reaffirmed its determination to initiate its nuclear energy program by approving a technical framework for it. This is to proceed through manpower and infrastructure development, power reactor design certification, regulatory and licensing approvals, construction and start-up. In mid 2008, the target was moved forward to having up to 5000 MWe of nuclear capacity by 2017.