The proposed plan by the Federal Government to construct a nuclear power plant would offer Nigerians a cheaper and stable source of electricity pricing – in the long run – borne out of lower operating costs.
Viktor Polikarpov, Vice-President, ROSATOM Sub-Saharan Africa, revealed this recently. Recall, the Nigerian Federal Government, last October, signed an agreement with ROSATOM – Russia’s state owned nuclear energy corporation for the construction of a nuclear power plant and research centre in Nigeria. This is with a view to diversify Nigeria’s current energy generation mix – which relies mainly on thermal and hydroelectric sources.
Throwing more light on how nuclear energy, offers lower operating costs – as opposed to other energy sources, Polikarpov explained, it’s is in view of the fact, the cost of uranium, which serves as nuclear fuel is comparatively low – when compared with fossil fuels, used in powering gas and coal turbines.
He further explained: “Even though the cost of constructing a nuclear power plant is quite high, the cost implications of operating them are quite low. The average lifespan of a modern nuclear reactor is 60-80 years. This variable, when taken into consideration, make the expense of delivering power from a nuclear plant quite low.”
If the cost of uranium doubles, for instance, the cost of electricity produced by nuclear, he stressed, will only increase marginally. This, he noted, cannot be said about conventional energy sources.
“However, if the price of coal doubles, it implies that the final cost of electricity will be 70 percent more; same applies to gas. However, the cost of uranium, which is produced on a nuclear power plant, has just a three percent implication on the cost of electricity. Even if the cost of uranium rises, electricity consumers may not even feel the little impact it would have on electricity,” Polikarpov pointed out.
This, he emphasized, portends huge benefits for electricity consumers in Nigeria. He shed more light: “If you have predictable prices for electricity for the next sixty years, which is the minimum time to operate a modern nuclear power plant, it really helps to grow the economy.
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