President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has assured that Nigeria's desire to acquire nuclear technology is only for peaceful purposes.
The President stated this in his address at the commissioning of the Researchers'Hostel and Conference Centre built by the National Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), which held at the Nuclear Technology Centre, Sheda, Abuja, on Thursday, June 29.
The President who was represented by the Vice President, Arc Mohammed Namadi Sambo, said "the acquisition and use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes is an important element in any nation's path towards economic, scientific and technological development. Apart from the generation of electricity, nuclear energy finds ready peaceful applications in agriculture and food security, human health and medicine, water resources management, industry and in basic and applied scientific research."
Speaking further he stated that "the decision to introduce nuclear power into our energy mix was made after lengthy and meticulous process, which involved the use of analytical and planning tools with the cooperation and assistance of the International Atomic energy Agency (IAEA)."
The President while noting the challenges associated with nuclear power generation charged NAEC to evolve mechanisms that will ensure its safe use when eventually deployed in the country saying "as a matter of priority, NAEC must also develop and implement appropriate mechanisms to assess, national, regional and international nuclear emergency preparedness and response capabilities."
On the project that was commissioned, President Jonathan asserted that it was a critical national resource centre in the area of nuclear power educational infrastructure development, adding that "it is also an affirmation of this administration's strong belief that the frontiers of socio-economic development are within the reach of any determined and committed society driven by science and technology."
Earlier the Chairman of the NAEC, Dr. Franklin Osaisai said within the six years of the activation of the commission, a National Nuclear Power Roadmap has been developed to strategize the country's power capacity.
He also disclosed that the commission is building and strengthening central national facilities to develop the nation's institutional capacity to achieve the set goals.
The three- winged one story building, constructed at the cost of N650 million, comprises of auditorium, classes, conference rooms, library as well as nuclear power reactor Simulators among others.
Present at the occasion was the Minister of Science and Technology, Professor Ita Okon Bassey Ewa, and other top government functionaries.