I almost choked on my ogbono last night when I heard Obasanjo say Nigeria was going nuclear. He was giving a speech where he said that the country had major energy needs, and he intended that Nigeria would be supplied by nuclear energy by 2010. In four years time. The problem with Nigeria has never been a shortage of ideas and grand projects, but the maintenance of those projects. Ajaokuta Steel Plant, National Theatre, and this blue waste disposal plant I used to see from Eko Bridge.
National Theatre barely functions, and the others became wastelands. I believe the OBJ has tried to rescue Ajaokuta, which was left in a state of disrepair for many years. Imagine a nuclear wasteland in Nigeria. I'm not one of those who believe we should walk before we fly. I've argued before that it is possible to have great technological advancement, even when some of the basics haven't been met. Nuclear energy, though, is a grand plan too far.
None of the regulatory bodies work well enough in Nigeria. NAFDAC may have been dominated by Dora Akunyili, but the aviation industry has no such doyen, hence last year's crashes. With certain industries, a slight lapse may be acceptable. In the nuclear industry, one cannot afford to lapse, even once. The Chernobyl disaster happened in Ukraine, but affected sheep in Wales (which are still being monitored, 20 years later).
One of the main issues in nuclear energy is disposal of nuclear waste - how do you get rid of it? These are some of the questions the governments of the developed nations ask. Nigerian cannot get rid of its domestic waste, how will it manage nuclear? Any error and the whole of Nigeria would be rendered inhabitable. I don't trust the Nigerian government to keep the country safe.
There are some things that Nigeria's is not just ready for. I'd have to wait and see how they propose to regulate the industry, but for now, my instinct is to say no.