The Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Agency has opened bidding for the construction of a 4 GW nuclear plant, which will provide close to one third of Nigeria’s installed generating capacity.
According to the Director General of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Agency Yau Idris, the four-reactor nuclear power plant will add a crucial 4GW of capacity to the country’s energy supply and serve as a key initiative by the Nigerian government to diversify its energy mix, ensure energy security and address power outages.
Since 2009, the government of Nigeria has embarked on multiple collaborations with various stakeholders including the Russian government for the purpose of developing nuclear-powered plants to meet the country’s energy needs. Notably, the Russian-Nigerian Joint Coordination Committee on National Atomic Energy was established in 2009 with the aim to complete a nuclear plant in Nigeria by 2020. The Committee was, however, reconstituted in July 2021 to enable the development of the Geregu and Itu nuclear power stations in central and southern Nigeria, respectively, at a total cost of $20 billion.
In partnership with Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation, Rosatom, the Nigerian government had also planned to build four nuclear stations with a total cost of $80 billion in 2016. In addition, agreements were signed with Pakistan, France and South Korea to construct nuclear stations, however, none of the planned projects have thus far materialized and the west African country continues to witness power outages.
On March 14, Nigeria suffered a country-wide outage which was due to the inability of power generating companies to meet the required demand. However, IfeOluwa Oyedele, the Executive Director of utility, Niger Delta Power Holding Company flagged that the challenge is with the country’s aging transmission and distribution infrastructure. Oyedele further outlined that Nigeria’s current transmission and distribution system only has the capacity to hold up to 5 GW of electricity but anything above that would result in the grid collapsing.