Russia and Nigeria on 30 October signed several agreements for the construction and operation of a nuclear power station and a nuclear research centre during the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century in Abu Dhabi.

Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said the agreements included a roadmap for cooperation in the civilian uses of nuclear energy. Feasibility studies for the proposed nuclear plant and the research centre will cover site screening, a time frame, implementation schedule, and financing schemes and equipment lists, Rosatom said.

Russia and Nigeria signed their first intergovernmental agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation in 2009 followed by agreements on nuclear plant design, construction, operation and decommissioning. In May 2016, Nigeria signed a memorandum of understanding with the Russian government on cooperation in construction of a centre for nuclear science and technology.

The Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) was set up in 1976, and a 30kW Chinese Miniature Neutron Source Reactor was commissioned at Ahmadu Bello University in 2004. NAEC disclosed in 2015 that it was in discussion with Rosatom to build four NPPs at the cost of $20bn, according to local press reports.   In March 2016, a statement from the office of the Nigerian president said Nigeria wanted to start a programme “in the coming years” to provide 1GWe of nuclear capacity in the first instance, to be increased to 4GWe by 2030. Nigerian media said earlier that possible sites had been selected for the first reactor in Kogi state (central Nigeria) and Akwa Ibom state (on the south coast).

"The development of nuclear technologies will allow Nigeria to strengthen its position as one of the leading countries of the African continent," said Anton Moskin, vice president of marketing and business development of Rosatom subsidiary Rusatom Overseas. "These are the projects of a large scale and strategic importance, that will determine the relationship between our two countries in the long term."  

Nigeria joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1964 and has recently asked for IAEA support to develop plans for up to 4000MWe of nuclear capacity by 2025. IAEA organised two missions to Nigeria in 2015, which found its emergency preparedness and response framework to be consistent with its safety standards. A 10-day IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service mission earlier this year concluded that the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority was a "committed" regulatory body, but it noted challenges related to its independence in implementing regulatory decisions and activities.