Group advocates use of nuclear energy to boost economic activities
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As Nigerians continue to groan under power blackouts and grid collapses, a group called, Nigerian Young Generation in Nuclear, NYGN, Tuesday, advocated the use of nuclear energy to boost economic activities.
Speaking with Vanguard, the Co-founder and President, NYGN, Mbazor Jeremiah, said it has become necessary for the government to look at the option of nuclear energy to solve Nigeria’s protracted energy crisis that has negatively impacted the economy and impeded development in all sectors.
According to Jeremiah the population of sub-Saharan Africa is about 1.1 billion and 60 per cent of this population is youths who are in their productive age brackets, and it is nuclear energy that would help them contribute effectively to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, of the economy.
He said: “Consider Lagos State, Nigeria with its high population density, a nuclear power plant would do justice to the ameliorating its energy needs and opening more opportunities for growth.
“The youths in Africa and Nigeria especially need energy to power their productive activities,ingenuity, and spring up industry for development. It is not enough to have an easily deployable solar/renewable installation to power lights and charge mobile devices; this is tantamount to the “stomach infrastructure”posited by some politicians to provide temporary relief to a continuous problem.
“We need a strong baseload energy source for production and maintenance of our heavy industries. In this age of powerful super-computing, bitcoin mining, production of solar panel, cement production, iron and steel production, and physical security infrastructure needs, we need more than the existing and emerging solar and renewable capabilities.
“Nuclear and renewables can complement each other to meeting Sub-Sahara Africa’s energy needs. Our energy policymakers must realize the need for major investment in the emerging small modular reactors and fund research for new and innovative nuclear fuel development that solves the waste management problem and strengthens the safety of existing nuclear power technology.”
He also pointed that funding nuclear agencies remain key to jump-start the economy, hence government needs to give attention to them to deepen nuclear technology for positive development.
“Our governments must fund the nuclear agencies in her countries to deepen the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes”, he said.
He however noted the worry of Africans about the nuclear source of energy but explained why it is needed at this point in Africa’s quest to develop her economy.
“The big question is why nuclear for sub-Saharan Africa and not the easily deployable clean/renewable sources?
“Nuclear provides jobs for our teeming youths, nuclear provides solution to the problems created by COVID-19, it is strongly in line with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and helps reduce greenhouse gases while delivering clean and environmentally friendly energy unlike fossils.
“Nuclear energy is needed to industrialise Africa in a sustainable manner, the UAE with abundant oil resource have gotten four nuclear power plants which makes for a healthy energy mix.
“Electric transportation is an upcoming trend in Africa and nuclear energy can deliver more than just low carbon electricity, it can deliver industrial heat and cooling while contributing to decarbonisation. Bitcoin mining takes a lot of energy which nuclear can comfortably provide.
“Hydrogen fuel is also emerging as an alternative fuel and can become a mainstream fuel with nuclear.
“In fact, one of the new nuclear designs is advertised to have the capability of producing hydrogen fuel.
“Nuclear helps us to meet our food security needs, it kills cancer, improves crop yields in Nigeria and beyond”, he stated.
He also pointed that, “We live in a globally connected society but local problems must be solved with local methods while learning from the experiences of others. Today, we can easily show support for the black lives matter (BLM) movement from Abakaliki or a remote village in Djibouti at the click of the button.
“Science fiction of the tremendous capability of Artificial intelligence has exposed humans to the great power of imagination brought to reality by science and technology; let us build a vibrant productive and sustainable society and make decisions that our future generation will be grateful for post cop26.
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