27/08/2019 – The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria has warned that Nigeria’s decision to build nuclear power plants to augment poor electric power supply in the country will result in mishaps similar to the Arkhangelsk region explosion in Russia recently which led to a spike in radiation levels and mass evacuation of communities near the facility.
On August 8, Russian scientists were working on miniaturised sources of nuclear energy when a rocket engine exploded. The explosion killed five people and caused radiation readings in neighbouring cities to spike to 20 times above their normal level in half an hour.
While the Russian defence ministry said that the explosion took place during testing of a rocket engine, the country’s nuclear agency, Rosatom, countered in its report that the incident happened during testing of an isotope power source in a liquid propulsion system.
Rosatom is the corporation that the Nigerian government has partnered to add nuclear energy to the nation’s energy mix.
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The decision and the process have been criticised by civil society, and communities in Itu, Akwa Ibom State, which have warned that citing nuclear plant in their community does not have their support.
ERA/FoEN, in a statement issued in Lagos, said that the current incident should send a clear signal to the Nigerian government to back out of any further nuclear experimentation, particularly the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) it signed with Rosatom to build nuclear plants in the country.
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