Nigeria reviews nuclear power plans

April 5, 2011 at 8:28 AM
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ABUJA, Nigeria, April 5 (UPI) -- Oil-rich Nigeria might place less emphasis on nuclear energy in favor of conventional reserves, though the country's environment minister wants action.

Nigerian Minister of State for Power Nuhu Way suggested Nigeria has plenty of conventional reserves, meaning a nuclear power sector is several years off.

"If we have so many other sources of energy that are untapped, why do we have to be talking of one that is not readily available and is a long-term development plan? For you to put a nuclear plant and get it working, you are talking about eight years," he was quoted by Nigerian newspaper NEXT as saying.

The Japanese nuclear crisis is creating concerns for nuclear power in developing countries like Nigeria. The Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority is tasked with ensuring the safety of nuclear energy, though NEXT reported that the agency isn't able to deal effectively with any emergency.

Nigerian Environment Minister John Odey said nuclear energy is necessary to deal with rising energy demand. He claims hydroelectric power, oil and natural gas aren't enough for the country.

Way disagreed, saying Nigeria had plenty of natural resources to go around.

"We must remember that Nigeria is gas and oil economy and already has enough gas to potentially power the whole of Africa," he was quoted as saying.

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