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Halting the Pursuit of Nuclear Energy

By on September 19, 2011

If tomorrow would wait, this is the best time to ask for it-A tomorrow with nuclear energy as one of our energy sources should wait. With recent happenings in Japan and other environments, we are surprise this government has suddenly started pushing for this flagitious energy source.

Last week Thursday, it was in the news that the federal government is pushing ahead with plans to develop nuclear power in the country. This is needless as Nigeria is known as the world’s 7th largest holder of natural gas reserve. In spite of this we still suffer acute and recurring electricity outages with the cruel effect of shutting down businesses and frustrating innovative projects/enterprises.

Globally, energy needs is huge. It is reported that more than 1.6 billion people – almost one quarter of the world’s population – have little or no electricity, according to a 2005 United Nations report while businesses are known to have gone extinct as a result of energy crises. Developing countries suffer severe acute power shortage to boost emerging and encouraging economic growth signals. This is even worse off in rural areas.

Both nuclear power and fossil fuels are not safe. Okay. While it is argued that nuclear power has zero emissions, nuclear waste is certainly a problem, this will be further compounded by our usual ways of buying used stuffs. We would not be surprise to see us going to buy those legacy designs from Japan or the Western nations. Note such old designs have been attributed to the inability of Japan to manage the fallout, as calls have gone out for them to get modern reactors which spent nuclear fuel can be applied to rebreeding reactions, reducing waste to a negligible amount.

Recall the Japanese experience and upheaval surrounding the bursting of the nuclear plant as a result of the twin impact of a tsunami and earthquake. Even Japanese reverend continuous improvement philosophy and technological wizardry wasn’t sufficient to keep them safe from this disaster. With huge gas reserves and unlimited sunlight in the north, it is annoying to hear that the government is taking this path least travelled with its pitfalls and untoward experiences. This is more so in a nation that has suffered perennial crises in disaster and emergency management with corruption receding few gains made.

While we understand the urgency of this move, especially in line of our uncompetitiveness, we want to draw attention of the government to what South Africa is doing regarding this. South Africa generates over 40, 000 megawatts of electricity and is still pushing forward to fill growing energy gap. It is for this reason they are building one of the largest solar farms in Africa.

In all, lest we forget there are dreadful human costs caused by nuclear catastrophe: disease from radiation, genetic damage to future generations and death. We ask earnestly that the government stop this process and put a moratorium to this. We need to take advantage of our gas reserves and other energy resources at our disposal. We don’t have to go nuclear to salvage what remains of our energy dilemma. We need to see result with recent effort being made towards address this challenge. Even as energy companies are preaching the safety of nuclear power and also promoting the construction of even more plants. What is not being said is the fact that no private nuclear company would consider building a nuclear plant unless a government agrees to pay for any damages caused by a future disaster.