Nigeria’s Vice President, Namadi Sambo has urged scientists in Nigeria to utilise nuclear technology in a manner that would boost the nation’s economy.
Sambo made the call while inaugurating a N650million Researchers Hostel and Conference Centre (RHCC) at Sheda Science and Technology Complex, Abuja.
He said: “The use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes is an important element in any nation’s path toward economic, scientific and technological development.”
Sambo described the functional multipurpose centre, designed to meet the training, conferencing and accommodation needs of the commission, as a critical national resource centre in the area of nuclear power infrastructural development.
He said: “It’s commissioning today is an indication of our national resolve to optimally develop our nuclear capability. It is also an affirmation of this administrations strong belief that the frontiers of social economic development are within the reach of any determined and committed society driven by Science and Technology.”
He lauded the successful implementation of the project even as he noted the challenges attributed to nuclear energy and charged them to be diligent in the implementation of national nuclear power programmes.
“The lessons learnt and still evolving from the recent Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan and other incidents must be a guide in the implementation of our national programme. These require National Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) to be very faithful and diligent in the planning, programming and implementation of the nuclear power programmes.
“As a matter of priority, NAEC must also develop and implement appropriate mechanism to access national, regional and international nuclear emergency preparedness and response capabilities,” he added.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, NAEC, Dr. Franklin Osaisai said that the RHCC would serve as an international and regional hub for education, training and technical workshops in the field of nuclear science and technology.
According to him, “RHCC is such a central facility which will provide a conducive environment for local and offshore scholars to work together in teaching and mentoring young post graduate students in nuclear science and engineering.”
The NAEC helmsman further remarked that the construction of the RHCC was in line with the primary mandate of the commission.
He said: “The primary aim of the commission has been in the development of the needed critical educational infrastructure for manpower training as enunciated in the first phase of the nuclear power roadmap.
“The human resource development strategy of the commission was designed to produce indigenous scientists and engineers who would acquire an indepth fundamental understanding of nuclear technology for effective project planning and management, technical coordination and sustainable implementation of the national nuclear project; train specialized crop of scientists, engineers, technologists and technicians, imbued with a high level of fundamental knowledge and practical expertise so as to create a sustainable pool of human capital for the design, operation and maintenance of the nuclear power plants.
“It will also develop the national regulatory capacity and infrastructure in a way that would ensure that in the implementation of the nuclear power programme, the key issues of safety and nuclear security are understood and managed in accordance with global best practice.”
He solicited government’s intervention for a sustainable and successful implementation of its resource development programmes by releasing funds for the commission to put critical training infrastructure in place.
“This will require provision of the optimal level of key functional equipment and relevant research facilities, such as laboratories, workshops and IT facilities, as well as upgrade of the existing facilities in relevant areas of nuclear technology to provide the needed backbone for the implementation of the national training programmes,” he added.