Russia has signed an accord with Nigeria calling for cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, including the construction of nuclear power plants and establishment of uranium mining in Nigeria.
The two countries signed a memorandum of mutual understanding in Moscow during the third meeting of the Russian-Nigerian Intergovernmental Commission on Economic and Scientific Technical Cooperation. The accord was signed by Rosatom deputy director general Nikolay Spassky and Emmanuel Egbogah, special adviser to the Nigerian president.
Rosatom said that the memorandum 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.
Following the signing of the memorandum, the two countries will now draft a full intergovernmental cooperation agreement.
To address rapidly increasing base-load 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.