Nigeria, Other Countries Secure Atomic Agency’s Nod For Nuclear Power Development

Nigeria and a dozen other countries are expected to start producing electricity from nuclear power sources within the next few years, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, said on Tuesday.

According to the IAEA, it is necessary to double the number of nuclear reactors in the world – currently at about 400 units – to achieve the objectives of the Paris climate agreement.

 Grossi said at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris, that 10 countries, including Nigeria,  have already entered the decision to develop their nuclear potential.

“We already have 10 countries which have entered the decision phase to build nuclear power plants and 17 others which are in the evaluation process,” he said.

“There will be a dozen or 13 new nuclear countries within a few years,” he added.

A Reuters report noted that Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Namibia, the Philippines, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan were cited by Grossi as potential new nuclear countries.

Meanwhile Nigeria, the United States, Britain and more than a dozen other countries have unveiled what a senior US official described as the first detailed international agreement on how to keep artificial intelligence safe from rogue actors, pushing for companies to create AI systems that are “secure by design.”

In a 20-page document unveiled, the 18 countries agreed that companies designing and using AI need to develop and deploy it in a way that keeps customers and the wider public safe from misuse.

The agreement is non-binding and carries mostly general recommendations such as monitoring AI systems for abuse, protecting data from tampering and vetting software suppliers, Reuters said.

Still, the director of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Jen Easterly, said it was important that so many countries put their names to the idea that AI systems needed to put safety first.

“This is the first time that we have seen an affirmation that these capabilities should not just be about cool features and how quickly we can get them to market or how we can compete to drive down costs,” Easterly noted, saying the guidelines represent “an agreement that the most important thing that needs to be done at the design phase is security.”

The agreement is the latest in a series of initiatives – few of which carry teeth – by governments around the world to shape the development of AI, whose weight is increasingly being felt in industry and society at large.

In addition to the United States and Britain, the 18 countries that signed on to the new guidelines include Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Australia, Chile, Israel, Nigeria, and Singapore.

The framework deals with questions of how to keep AI technology from being hijacked by hackers and includes recommendations such as only releasing models after appropriate security testing.

It does not tackle thorny questions around the appropriate uses of AI, or how the data that feeds these models is gathered.

The rise of AI has fed a host of concerns, including the fear that it could be used to disrupt the democratic process, turbocharge fraud, or lead to dramatic job loss, among other harms.

Europe is ahead of the United States on regulations around AI, with lawmakers there drafting AI rules.

France, Germany, and Italy also recently reached an agreement on how artificial intelligence should be regulated that supports “mandatory self-regulation through codes of conduct” for so-called foundation models of AI, which are designed to produce a broad range of outputs.

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja