Government has announced plans to introduce nuclear power into the country’s energy mix and will take between 10 to 15 years for the realisation of the vision to ensure affordable energy for industrial development.
A team has been constituted to embark on reconnaissance trip for a preliminary assessment and collection of site data for the Nuclear Power Programme, while mass sensitization activities are being carried out to promote public acceptability of the technology and to explain the benefit Ghana stands to gain from a Nuclear Power Plant.
A nine-member board, known as ‘Nuclear Power Ghana’ has been constituted by government to oversee the full implementation of the programme, which will see the nation rubbing shoulders with nuclear power nations like Iran, Iraq, Russia and South Korea.
The Volta River Authority, Bui Power Dam and Atomic Energy have been tasked to support the setting up of the structures for a nuclear power plant taking into consideration the timelines outlined by government.
Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, who announced this when he took his turn at the Meet-the-Press Series in Accra on Tuesday, said China, France, Russia and United States have already expressed interest in Ghana’s Nuclear Energy Programme and expressed their readiness to collaborate with the nation towards the realisation of the plan.
He said the Atomic Energy is currently preparing a report on the Nuclear Power Programme and upon presentation to government a decision would be taken regarding the financing of the programme.
The Minister noted that the nation has competent and well-trained scientists and functional institutions, including the Nuclear Power Institute, Ghana Atomic Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Authority and School of Allied and Nuclear Sciences that are capable to champion the country’s Nuclear Energy Programme.
He said the nation had been operating a research reactor for 25 years, which is a miniature of any nuclear power plant, noting that it had trained nuclear scientists from other African countries as well as students from Pakistan and Iran.
He said some sites have been identified for the establishment of a nuclear power plant and that a team was collecting data on the candidate sites.
Prof. Frimpong Boateng said Ghana had completed the construction of a replica of research reactor to serve as a training facility for any country embarking on reactor core conversion with a training programme completed for some Nigerians.
To ensure adequate control of radiation exposure to humans and environment during nuclear and radiation activities, the Minister said the National Regulatory Authority drafted some regulations including Emergency Preparedness and Response Regulation for Operators, Regulations on the Safe Transport and Radioactive Materials, Design of Nuclear Installations Regulations, Licensing of Nuclear Installations Regulations, Transport Security Regulations and Physical Protection of Nuclear Installations Regulations.
The Minister announced that feasibility studies were ongoing towards the establishment of two Foundries and Machine Tools Centres to improve the capacity of the nation for manufacturing machine parts and tools for industries.