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Power outages fuel interest in nuclear option

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By Usman Oladimeji

Nigeria’s interest in nuclear option increases due to power outages.

Prof. S.A. Jonah, Director of Centre for Energy Research and Training (CERT), Ahmadu Bello University, said deficiency in generation caused by power outages in Nigeria has boosted interest in the nuclear option in the country’s drive to diversify its power-generating alternatives. He mentioned this at the opening ceremony of a five-day IAEA-AFRA regional course on the demonstration of conditioning operation and storage of Disused Sealed Radioactive Sources (DSRS) for managers, scientists and technicians of nuclear wastes at the research centre.

The course is designed to provide local experts and facility operators with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the handling and conditioning operation under the supervision of IAEA specialists. The goal of this presentation is to provide participants both theoretical background knowledge and hands-on experience in characterizing, conditioning, and repackaging DSRSs. Prof. Jonah noted that the usage of sealed radioactive sources in Nigeria has increased drastically in the Economy’s health, industrial, and Petroleum sectors.

Nuclear power is poised as the only stable energy base.

He further explained that globally, the interest in nuclear power was also rising to meet the demand for Electricity while reducing carbon dioxide Emissions. With the recent discovery of a significant quantity of uranium in seawater and the development of fusion reactor Technology, nuclear power may be our only option for a stable, long-term source of base load energy in the future. Thus, the professor emphasized that there will be a continuous endeavour to provide Nigerians with the best possible service, as defined in the country’s statute, as Nigeria continues to strive toward peaceful applications of nuclear energy with the successful hosting of this training course at CERT.

As a professor of nuclear and reactor physicists, Jonah argues that the sustainable and socio-Economic Development of the African sub-region hinges on the professional management of nuclear and radiological materials. He noted that the training workshop would mark the beginning of more IAEA events to be held at CERT, explaining that it had been scheduled to take place much earlier but had been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, most notably the COVID-19 outbreak that ravaged the world.

The conditioning method mitigates the menace of exposing DSRS.

While welcoming the IAEA team of experts led by Miss Vivian Pereira Campos and participants from AFRA countries Ghana, Ethiopia, and Nigeria, Prof. Jonah said that Nigeria was the most prepared of all the countries to host training courses on the demonstration of conditioning operations under Project RAF9062. In addition, he clarified that numerous used radioactive sources were now being held in the Waste Management facility at CERT, having been produced as a byproduct of many procedures using radioactive sources.

Prof. Yusuf A. Ahmed, Chairman and CEO of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) commended the IAEA’s cooperation with member states through regional and international programmes for managing and conditioning DSRS. According to him, the conditioning method reduced the danger of exposing people and the environment to DSRS. Prof. Ahmed, who was represented by Prof. A.A. Mati of the Centre for Energy Research and Training, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said Nigeria’s long-term commitment to the peaceful, safe, and secure use of nuclear technology was based on a sustainable organizational, regulatory, social, technological, and economic Infrastructure development.

IAEA and ABU collaborated to participate in the IRL project.

Prof. Kabiru Bala, Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, said the university would continue to support CERT as a centre of excellence in fostering nuclear science and technology Education and training in the country. Prof. Bala commended IAEA for supporting training and research facilities in CERT and Nigeria for over three decades. He added that the IAEA and ABU inked an agreement to participate in the Internet Laboratory Project (IRL) last month. This intended to improve the teaching and practical applications of nuclear reactor physics at Ahmadu Bello University and other Nigerian institutions, which were restricted to theoretical notions.


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