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Nuclear energy: IAEA, Rosatom to assist Nigeria, others

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Stanley Opara with agency report

The International Atomic Energy Agency and Rosatom, a nuclear energy company, have reached an agreement aimed at strengthening the IAEA’s assistance to Nigeria and other member states that are considering introducing nuclear power or expanding an existing programme.

“This includes, in particular, nuclear trainings, development of the industry regulations, and analysis of every safety facilities that is to be made under the auspice of the IAEA,” the Chief Executive Officer of Rosatom, Alexey Likhachev, said on Friday.

The Director-General, IAEA, Yukiya Amano, had last year told President Muhammadu Buhari that the agency would continue to support Nigeria in the introduction of nuclear power. The country plans to have its first nuclear power reactor ready by 2025.

Amano encouraged the Nigerian authorities to continue the preparation of a comprehensive nuclear law and to strengthen the regulatory framework in the light of the planned nuclear power programme.

Under the contribution agreement, Rosatom will provide a financial contribution of up to $1.8m and an in-kind contribution of up to RUB 109.5m over the next three years to IAEA programmes on nuclear infrastructure development.

“We ensure succession with the aim to boost joint projects, we keep on increasing financing. Considering this, we take upon ourselves certain tasks, while also determining these tasks for our cooperation with the IAEA. The point of the tasks is active work with newcomer countries, those that join the nuclear power club”, Likhachev said after signing the agreement.

The IAEA’s nuclear infrastructure development section, through the technical cooperation programme, provides targeted support to member states embarking on new nuclear power programmes or expanding existing ones. About 30 countries are currently considering, planning or starting such a programme.

Developing a nuclear power programme is a major undertaking of at least 10 to 15 years, the IAEA said.

Its approach provides structured guidance and checklists to help nuclear “newcomer” countries better understand the commitments involved in introducing nuclear power, from developing a regulatory framework to building a plant and planning for its decommissioning and nuclear waste management.

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