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A nuclear Nigeria is unthinkable

A nuclear energy cost-benefit analysis that has the fallouts of a nuclear accident as the costs and the generation of power from nuclear plants as the benefits will aggregate nuclear energy as undesirable. The costs will exceed the benefits. Japan, somberly, shows.

Before the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident that got rated five on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - the ratings are from negligible zero to a major nuclear accident seven; a rating of five indicates a nuclear accident with wider consequences and several expected deaths - Japan planned to build over twenty nuclear power plants by 2030.

The contamination of the environment and farming fields by the highly radioactive cesium, the non-import of Japanese food by Asian countries, the projected long term deleterious health effects, the sharp fall in power generation, and the economy-sapping volume of money that is being spent on reducing radiation levels, is changing Japanese future energy prospects towards green energy.

It is not only Japan that is changing views about nuclear energy; Germany will stop generating power from nuclear power plants by 2022. While these two technologically more developed countries are phasing out nuclear energy, Nigeria, strangely, is hoping about it.

Last July, it was in the news that the Russian State Corporation (RUSATOM) will build a nuclear power plant for Nigeria. Professor Ita Oko-Bassey Ewa, the Minister of Science and Technology, had it as an important energy sourcing effort that will consolidate efforts at generating required units of power. President Jonathan inaugurated a new board for the Atomic Energy Commission of Nigeria in September, mandating them to bring about the generation of electricity from nuclear energy in the shortest time possible.

The likelihood of a nuclear power plant in Nigeria is scary; especially with the current Boko Haram conundrum. It is plausible to regard the deranged sect incapable of assaying the fallouts of a nuclear disaster and capable of launching a suicide attack on a Nigerian nuclear power plant just to cripple the country.

Presently, nothing indicates that the federal government will soon check Boko Haram. Worse, it has a poor history of managing ecological disaster. Ecological disasters unlike nuclear disasters are physical and can be visibly measured. They abound in several parts of the country. Black, pungent crude oil flows undisturbed in the Niger Delta destroying land and aquatic flora and fauna. Erosion sites in Eastern Nigeria are not reclaimed; efforts of local communities at reclaiming the sites with the planting of bamboo trees have scarcely been aided technically. The Sahara Desert claims 0.6 kilometres of Nigerian land yearly in an aggressive campaign to make Nigeria part of its dusty heritage.

The worst nuclear accident in humankind history, the Ukrainian Chernobyl disaster of 1986, that was ranked seven on INES, was caused by human error, when engineers testing the turbines of a reactor to see if it could produce more energy whenever there is power loss caused a lethal explosion. The faulty design of the Chernobyl power plant exacerbated it.

A natural disaster, a tsunami, struck the Japanese Fukushima power plant and broke all technological guards around the plant. A Nigerian nuclear plant, with the present social, security and economic challenges of Nigeria, is a thing of ugliness. The focus of the federal government should change, quickly, to beautiful, green energy. As a start, President Jonathan should mandate the Minister of Power and Steel to generate 200MW of electricity from renewable energy sources within a few months. Nuclear is a NO.