The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on Tuesday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation and the Nuclear Power Ghana, in Accra.
The collaboration, had created a platform for the media to champion public information and ownership of Ghana’s efforts at energy security, industrial development and sustainability.
Mr Affail Monney, the President of the GJA, said the Association was excited with the landmark partnership, and was confident that the hope expressed by the nuclear scientists and energy experts who had led the country’s efforts to re-activate the long held vision of using nuclear technology for power generation would be a success.
He said as committed and objective professionals, “we wield the power to the minds, hearts and activities of our people,” promising to provide a holistic framework for media relations and management of information in support of the implementation of Ghana’s Nuclear Power Programme (NPP) and Project, and also guide Ghanaians to make informed and excellent energy choices for domestic and industrial development.
These efforts, we believe, would accelerate our industrial and economic growth and make Ghana the “Energy Hub” in the sub-region.
He said as the world battled with the COVID-19 pandemic and its related issues, the unrelenting efforts to escape energy shortages, reduce greenhouse gas emissions as climate change impacted on natural and human systems were some of the challenges that could not be ignored.
Mr Monney said the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, as well as the responsibility to do so safely and securely, made the topic of Nuclear Power inescapable, adding, that environmental demands and the need for energy security remained in tension.
As a professional body, the GJA was committed to the promotion of clean, sustainable technologies and efforts that would assist the nation to overcome the many difficulties that stood between now and a future with global energy security, he said.
He pledged the GJA’s commitment to good public information dissemination and discourse to promote ideas, scientific and engineering technologies, social and economic efforts that offset the energy poverty and vanquished unsustained energy security activities.
Professor Benjamin Jabez Nyarko, the Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), gave a brief historical background of the country’s Nuclear Reactor Programme, which dated back from 1963, to the present decision to progress into adopting a mix of nuclear power for energy generation, for enhanced industrialization.
He said although the journey had been long, there had been a great success, with Ghana achieving a solid footing with all the 19 infrastructural requirements for establishing a Nuclear Power Plant, adding that, after completing the Phase one, a Programme Comprehensive Report, had been submitted to Cabinet, to aid the Government in making an informed decision on the NPP.
Prof. Nyarko, however, said although capital intensive, nuclear energy was the most cost effective, saying, energy cost could go down by five cent per kilowatt, and was safe and environmentally friendly in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, reliable, sustainable, and more resilient to external shocks.
He urged the media to be open-minded without polarisation, to encourage vendors to come on board for a smooth take-off of the operation of Ghana’s nuclear power plant.
He said so far four candidate sites had been identified for the construction of the Nuclear Power Plant, and a vendor identified, but the decision was to be made by the Government.
Dr Stephen Yamoah, Executive Director of Nuclear Power Ghana, commended GJA for the commitment exhibited and hoped the collaboration would yield the results of seeing Ghana achieving success in its nuclear ambition.
Dr Nii Kwashie Allotey, the Director-General of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, assured Ghanaians about the safety, security, and safeguard of Ghana’s nuclear power plant, and said the development of the necessary local expert competencies had been on-going for the past four years in addition to the sorting out of the operating licensing and other regulations for guiding its operation.
Mr Robert Sogbadji, the Deputy Director, Renewable and Nuclear Energy at the Ministry of Energy, admitted that collaborating with the media would enhance advocacy and public education, eroding all forms of misinformation about the operation of a nuclear power plant, and ensure local ownership.
He pledged the full support of the Ministry to the GNPPO to achieve Ghana’s vision of becoming a net exporter of energy and industrialization agenda.