Severely lacking adequate electricity, Nigeria has begun talks with Russia about building nuclear power plants.
An intergovernmental agreement with Russia’s state-owned nuclear firm, Rosatom, was reported this week by Reuters.
Nigeria has Africa’s biggest economy and biggest population, but South Africa generates nearly seven times more power.
We have an intergovernmental agreement with Nigeria, but no concrete decisions have been made– A Rosatom spokesman
The news comes as Nigeria is still flush with optimism after the peaceful election of Muhammadu Buhari on 29 March.Â
In his campaign Buhari promised an ambitious national infrastructure plan.
Nigeria has no experience with industrial-scale nuclear power, but does have small reactors producing just 30 kilowatts for research.
Rosatom is active around the world, building, investing or discussing nuclear projects in Turkey, Hungary, Iran, Jordan and India.
"We have an intergovernmental agreement with Nigeria, but no concrete decisions have been made," a Rosatom spokesman said.
According to Reuters, Rosatom’s investment programme, sourced from the state budget, allows it to spend up to $350bn per year to build nuclear plants in Russia and abroad.
Nigeria, with a population of around 170 million, has installed power capacity that fluctuates between around 6,000MW to just over 7,000 MW, according to the transmission company.
In South Africa, state utility Eskom has a nominal installed capacity of 44,175MW, although South Africa is also plagued by power cuts.
Nigeria ended a state monopoly on power generation and distribution by privatising the sector two-years ago, hoping to attract foreign investors. But the amount of power produced has stagnated at around half total capacity.
Photograph: Russia’s Kalinin nuclear power station (IAEA/Wikimedia Commons)