Niger completes IAEA nuclear infrastructure mission

27 April 2018

The government of Niger has a strong commitment to developing the infrastructure for a nuclear power programme, an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission has concluded. Niger, whose economic development is hampered by a lack of consistent electricity supply, is considering a potential role for nuclear power in its energy mix, the IAEA said. A country of about 21 million people in Western Africa, Niger is currently ranked as the world's fourth largest producer of uranium ore.

IAEA - INIR mission to Niger - April 2018 - 460 (IAEA)
Anthony Stott, right, of the IAEA's Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section, hands over the INIR team's preliminary draft report to Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou, minister and head of cabinet of the president of Niger (Image: T Reysset/IAEA)

The Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) team noted that the government has established a Strategic Orientation Committee and a National Technical Committee for its nuclear power programme, chaired, respectively, by the prime minister and the president of the Nigerien High Authority for Atomic Energy (HANEA). Those two committees form the Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organization (NEPIO). Niger has already completed or initiated several studies related to nuclear infrastructure development, and prepared a comprehensive report summarising the results, the IAEA said.

Zeinabou Mindaoudou Souley, president of HANEA, said Niger is committed to the careful step-by-step development of its nuclear power programme.

"This INIR mission was a really enriching experience that will help us to move forward," Mindaoudou Souley said. "The recommendations and suggestions from the INIR mission will be thoroughly reviewed and addressed to strengthen the rationale for Niger moving forward with the development of nuclear power."

The team comprised international experts from France, Morocco, Spain and the UK, as well as IAEA staff. It reviewed the status of 19 nuclear power programme infrastructure issues using the IAEA Nuclear Energy Series Evaluation of the Status of National Infrastructure Development. Prior to the INIR mission, which was supported by the Division for Africa in the IAEA's Technical Cooperation Department, Niger prepared a self-evaluation report covering all infrastructure issues and submitted this and supporting documents to the IAEA.

The team's recommendations include: developing an integrated view of the overall nuclear power plant project costs; continuing to assess and develop the legal and regulatory framework and ensuring that all necessary elements of a national policy and strategy for safety are taken into account; and strengthening the management and documentation of the activities being undertaken for developing the nuclear power programme.

The team also identified good practices that would benefit other countries considering the introduction of nuclear power, including the strong connection between the two committees that form the NEPIO, and the engagement with neighbouring countries to inform them of Niger's plans.

INIR missions are based on the IAEA Milestones Approach, with its 19 Infrastructure Issues, three Phases and three Milestones.

The IAEA publishes each INIR mission report on its website 90 days after its delivery to the member state, unless the state requests in writing that the IAEA not do so.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News