Mr William Owuraku Aidoo, the Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, has said Ghana has the required technology to embark upon the establishment of a Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) to generate electricity.
He said the country’s vision for the peaceful application of nuclear technology in various fields including power generation, dated back to the 1963 when the reactor project was launched by Ghana’s first President Osagyfo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
Unfortunately, the project was abandoned in 1966 and until a series of power crisis and high cost of electricity tariffs rekindled the discussion, saying nuclear plant was best suited to be operated as a base load generation for the country, he said.
He said there are currently Ghanaian scientists who were highly revered in the global arena, and these professionals through their contributions have projected the country’s image in the international domain.
Mr Aidoo, was speaking at the maiden nuclear media training workshop organized by the Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG) in Accra on Monday, to sensitise selected journalists on matters relating to Ghana’s Nuclear Power programme, so they could best articulate the issues, and eliminate the myths and misinformation regarding nuclear power.
The workshop featured presentations on the fundamentals of nuclear power, Ghana’s journey, the organisations responsible for the programme development, and how the country plan to address the safety and waste concerns.
He said nuclear power was the solution to greater industrialization as it guaranteed low operating cost, had zero greenhouse emissions, stable price over a long period and that the plant could operate at full power for very long periods.
The Deputy Minister said the nation has made tremendous strides since its decision to embark upon a Nuclear Power Programme, and had presently worked hard to satisfy all the 19 key infrastructure requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), for establishing a Nuclear Power Plant, and would soon present its report to Parliament to endorse the country’s commitment.
He said key bodies such as the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation (GNPPO), the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA), and the Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG) have been established to respectively, oversee to the implementation, regulation, and safety of the country’s nuclear power plant.
Mr Aidoo applauded the country’s efforts and successes, saying the development of nuclear power involved three phases and Ghana was at the tail end of currently the first Phase, where government is expected to make a decision to usher in the second phase.
He said the second phase would then culminate in the invitation of bids or negotiation of contracts for the Nuclear Power Plant, while the third phase involved construction, and would conclude with the commissioning and operation of Ghana’s first nuclear power plant.
He applauded the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) for the initiative role in the nuclear power programme, and pledged the full support of the Ministry.
Mr Fred Oware, the Board Chair of the Nuclear Power Ghana, said it is very important that the media understood the issues, so that they could provide accurate information and education to the public.
The NPG, he said, has since July 2019 been a fully registered Limited Liability Company, under the sponsorship of the Volta River Authority, Bui Power Authority and the GAEC, and that it has been established to serve as the Owner and Operator of Ghana’s future Nuclear Power Plant.
Engineer Theophilus Nii Okai, the Executive Director, Nuclear Power Ghana, also spoke on the role of the Owner and Operator and the IAEA Milestones, saying the fundamental nuclear safety objective included ensuring the protection of people and the environment from harmful radiation.
He said the project management organization, would oversee the construction and subsequent commissioning of the Nuclear Power Plant, and was responsible for site selection, negotiations with vendor, training of personnel to safely run and operate the plant, and work closely with the IAEA to ensure the steady progress of the programme.
Dr Emmanuel Ampomah, the Acting Director, Nuclear Installations Directorate, GAEC, said the NRA, is working closely with the IAEA to ensure that in the development of power, safety, security and safeguards were not compromised adding that the Ghana is a signatory to several international conventions that seeks to ensure the peaceful application.
Dr Stephen Yamoah, the Acting Director, Nuclear Power Ghana, said the amount of waste generated by nuclear power was very small compared to thermal electricity generation technologies and that a satisfactory means of disposal has been developed and was being implemented across the world.