nuclear
Nuclear

?to Clinch Deal in 3 Years

Nuclear

Government of Ghana has begun talks with international Nuclear Energy Firms and the International Energy Agency (IEA) for the establishment of a nuclear plant in the country to augment the nation?s power sector.

This revelation was made in an exclusive interview with Prof. Thomas Akabza, Chief Director at the Ministry of Energy in Accra last week on the sidelines of a post Budget Forum organized by the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ).

According to him, talks are far advanced with several countries that employ the resource as their source of energy in order to get a capable entity to establish the plant in Ghana.

The nation is looking to start with an initial 700 megawatts of power after it receives approval from the IEA within the next three to five years.

He said the IEA is awaiting Ghana to submit the proposal of the companies for approval, as such, the Ministry is engaging individual companies from Europe, Asia among others to have their nuclear plants established in Ghana.

He said all necessary details concerning the establishment of a nuclear plant are being worked on and that within the next three years, Ghana is hopeful to get the permit for Nuclear power plant establishment.

Ghana?s consideration of Nuclear energy as a viable option received a major impetus last year following intense discussions between the State Atomic Energy Corporation of Russia ?ROSATOM- and the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, on the specifics of joint projects facilitating the implementation of plans by Ghana to develop a nuclear industry.

According to the Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, the discussions paved way for legal teams of both entities to put together a final Memorandum of understanding (MoU) for real work to take off.

The move is a follow up to an MoU signed between the Ministry and ROSATOM two years ago in which the parties agreed to establish a bilateral cooperation in the field of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The Minister, who took part in the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in 21st Century in Russia last year, said Ghana was committed to considering Nuclear energy as a viable option in power generation and was putting the necessary measures in place to ensure the realization of that goal.

He observed that the increasing demand for power in the country called for accelerated measures to venture into nuclear power, adding that, the time has come for critical consideration of this option.

He said if the country was to achieve higher middle income status, it needed cheap and clean energy to power its developing industries.

?With the development of a legal and regulatory framework, site assessment and determination, as well as the finalization of techno-economic assessment and financing process which will begin this year, we are getting ready towards the construction of the first Nuclear Power Plant in Ghana,?  Buah stated.

Ghana?s quest to utilize nuclear power for electricity generation dates back to the early 1960s when the nation decided in 1964 to build a two megawatts Soviet research reactor.

The nuclear programme however did not progress as expected due mainly to political and economic factors.  In 2008, the government took a cabinet decision to introduce nuclear power into the country?s energy mix following the recommendations made by a Presidential Commission when the country was hit by an energy crisis from mid-2006 to late 2007.

Following this, a nuclear power planning project was initiated in 2009 in collaboration with the IAEA leading to the establishment of a nuclear power unit at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum in 2012 and the inauguration of eight technical groups in the same year to deal with all the issues associated with the planning and implementation of nuclear power programme in the country.

Currently, all necessary certifications have been obtained from the IAEA and the development of a legal and regulatory framework, site assessment and determination, as well as the finalization of techno-economic assessment and financing process is in progress as part of preparations towards the construction of the first Nuclear Power Plant in Ghana.

The Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organization (GNPPO) was inaugurated in September last year as part of the first milestones required by the IAEA.

Also, a Bill on the establishment of an autonomous regulatory body, another prerequisite for operating a Nuclear Power Plant, has been sent to parliament for approval.

Source: Ebenezer Sabutey || The Business Analyst

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