Nigeria has signed agreements with Russia for the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant and a research centre, by Russia, housing a multi-purpose nuclear research reactor in Nigeria.
Although the deal’s exact worth is unknown, some persons familiar with the discussions suggest it is likely in the region of $20 billion.
The parties also signed a roadmap for cooperation in the field of peaceful usage of nuclear technologies.
It is one of a number deals across Africa that Rosatom has been eyeing for quite some time. The company is also involved in discussions in Ghana and South Africa.
An initial agreement with South Africa to build a plant was ruled unlawful in a South African court earlier this year.
The deal in Nigeria was reached after a long period of negotiation, with the two countries signing their first intergovernmental nuclear co-operation agreement in 2009.
Nigeria hopes the plants, which will initially be operated by Rosatom before they are handed over, will help deal with the country’s energy deficit.
Nigeria is one of Africa’s largest oil producers, but much of its oil wealth has been squandered over the years.
Corruption at all levels has left the country out of pocket, and producing a fraction of the energy its over 180 million citizens need.
Construction of the new power plants is expected to begin in the next two years.
Anton Moskvin, Vice president for Marketing and Business Development of Rusatom Overseas, a part of Rosatom, signed on behalf of Rosatom, while Prof. Simon Pesco Mallam, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission penned the agreements on behalf of Nigeria.
The signing ceremony was attended by Director General of Rosatom, Mr. Alexey Likhachev and Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the international organisations in Vienna, Vivian Nwunaku Rose Okeke.
“The development of nuclear technologies will allow Nigeria to strengthen its position as one of the leading countries of the African continent. These are the projects of a large scale and strategic importance that will determine the relationship between our two countries in the long term”, emphasised Anton Moskvin.
The feasibility studies for the Nuclear Power Plant project and the Research Centre construction will include site screening, as well as the determination of key parameters of implementation, including; capacity, equipment lists, time frames and stages of implementation, as well as financing schemes.
The two countries started their partnership in 2009 by executing an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of the peaceful usage of nuclear technologies. Further on, intergovernmental agreements on cooperation in design, construction, operation and decommissioning of the Nuclear Power Plant and the Nuclear Research Centre housing a multi-purpose nuclear research reactor were signed.