By Joseph Burite* Nigeria is in talks with Russia’s Rosatom Corp. to build as many as four nuclear power plants costing about $20 billion as Africa’s biggest economy seeks to boost generation and end daily blackouts. “A joint coordination committee is in place and negotiations are ongoing for financing and contracting,” Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Franklin Erepamo Osaisai said at a conference in Kenya’s Kwale coastal region on Monday. “We are meticulously implementing our plans.” The West African nation signed an agreement with Rosatom to cooperate on the design, construction, operation and decommissioning of a facility in 2012. A further three nuclear plants are planned, taking total capacity to 4,800 megawatts by 2035, with each facility costing $5 billion, Osaisai said. The first Nigerian plant will be operational in 2025. Peak electricity output of Africa’s biggest economy is about 3,800 megawatts, with a further 1,500 megawatts unavailable because of gas shortages. South Africa, with a third of Nigeria’s population yet eight times more installed capacity, has also signed an agreement with Rosatom as the nation looks to add 9,600 megawatts of atomic power to its strained grid. It may spend as much as 1 trillion rand ($83 billion). South Africa’s agreement with Rosatom gave the company the right to veto the nation doing business with any other nuclear vendor, Johannesburg-based Mail & Guardian reported in February.