Nuclear EnergyFor nuclear advocates, it was refreshing to learn that the Nuclear Regulatory Power Bill had been presented to the Parliament of Ghana for it to be passed into law and that preparations for a nuclear programme take off were far advanced.? This piece of information, as was sourced from the Public Agenda, came across as pleasant news, at least, to the nuclear adherents in Ghana who are convinced without a shadow of a doubt that the panacea for the country?s perennial energy crises would only find expression in nuclear power generation.

An important question that, however, remains is whether enough education has been done regarding nuclear power generation and for that matter its numerous benefits, which range from health to electricity generation.

As a matter of fact, preparations to embark on any project that has the public as its key stakeholders must always be preceded by significant public education and, consequently, public acceptance before any further steps could be taken otherwise such a project would never see the light of day. This is especially true when the project under consideration is being surrounded by concocted mysteries and sheer misconceptions that are technically too difficult for the ordinary citizen to decipher. Oftentimes, when the public feels unsure about the potential benefits of a project, an obvious stance to adopt is but mount strong opposition as people are often highly apprehensive of the unknown. On the contrary, if the public is offered a platform to understand all the issues involved by way of mass education, public protest easily makes way for public acceptance and the project thus becomes a huge success.

In this regard, the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission must collaborate with the media to design series of campaign programmes that seek to offer all Ghanaians a platform to understand all issues that need to be known about nuclear energy. The Commission must begin this all important exercise of nuclear education by first engaging with players within the media industry so as to equip them with all the information they need to know themselves before commencement of mass education to be spearheaded by the media through both print and electronic. The public education, when it is well designed and executed, has a huge potential not only to demystify the fears surrounding nuclear energy, but would also promote public acceptance and hence little or no protests to deal with.

Perhaps, the Commission is awaiting the passing of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority Bill before staging its campaign on nuclear energy generation education in Ghana and if that is the case, then the call by this author on the need to intensify education in this regard is coming off too early. All the same, it would not be out of place if the engagement with the media starts now as a form of miniature campaign, which would then prepare the grounds for massive educational programmes to be rolled out when the Nuclear Regulatory Authority Bill finally becomes law.

Undoubtedly, the power crises that continue to hit mother Ghana despite efforts to augment power generation in the country over the years through other sources of energy obviously points to nuclear energy generation as the only means to permanently address the perennial energy crises. It is obvious that relying on only the current sources of energy, which are highly intermittent in nature, cannot solve the energy challenges that Ghana is facing. The only source that can guarantee constant supply of energy is certainly nuclear power. To have nuclear power in the energy mix of Ghana would mean 24/7 supply of electricity as it is being experienced in the developed countries. Surely, it is going to be a miracle if the only time one would experience dark moments is when an individual?s electric bulb is dead and only needs to be replaced. Wouldn?t it be a sure miracle for Ghanaians to begin to experience 24/7 supply of power all of a sudden after years of ?dumsor dumsor? when nuclear energy becomes part of the country?s energy mix? Never doubt the potential of nuclear energy to provide base-load energy supply all year round.

The usual ?dumsor dumsor? has reared its ugly head again in the last few days.? Therefore, all Ghanaians who love light, but hate dark must rally behind the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission in her preparation to build the first nuclear power for peaceful applications to halt the ?dumsor dumsor? permanently.

By Jude Nuru



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