Ghana is moving ahead with its plans to introduce nuclear energy into its energy mix. The government recently established an organization to coordinate the activities of all stakeholder institutions involved in the planning of the nuclear power plant project.
Speaking at the opening of a five-day conference in Accra on co-operation and networking for nuclear power programs in Africa, Ghana's deputy energy minister Alhaji Fuseini noted that although nuclear power is one of the options being considered to play a significant role in Ghana's energy sector, the utilization of nuclear power involves careful planning to address major issues such as financing, siting, safety and human resource development.
"It is expected that in the foreseeable future this energy option will be introduced into our energy mix to make effective contributions to our development efforts towards the achievement of sustainable energy for all by 2030."
Deputy energy minister Alhaji Fuseini
He said, "In the early part of this year, my ministry set up a nuclear power section, which is to deal with all the issues associated with the planning and implementation of a nuclear power program in the country." This was done in collaboration with the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC).
In addition, Fuseini announced that the energy ministry had established and inaugurated a Nuclear Energy Program Implementation Organization to coordinate the efforts of all the Ghanaian stakeholder institutions working on the country's plans for a nuclear power program, as recommended by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Ghana applied to the IAEA in 2004 for assistance in undertaking energy and nuclear power planning studies.
"It is expected that in the foreseeable future this energy option will be introduced into our energy mix to make effective contributions to our development efforts towards the achievement of sustainable energy for all by 2030," Fuseini said. Currently only 72% of the country's population has access to mains electricity, two-thirds of which is currently generated by hydro-electric plants.
Ghana ultimately hopes to export electricity to its West African neighbours. "This is why the government is working hard to increase the total installed capacity of electricity generation, which is currently about 2000 MWe to 5000 MWe in 2015," Fuseini said.
Last November 2011, GAEC deputy director-general Benjamin Nyarko said that various working groups were inaugurated in April 2011 to help in the planning of Ghana's nuclear power program. However, at that time he said that the nuclear power planning project was not expected to be completed until 2020.
In April 2007, Ghana's government announced that it planned to introduce nuclear power on energy security grounds. In May 2008, the government took a Cabinet decision to build a medium-size reactor by 2018. That decision was taken following recommendations made by a presidential commission set up to investigate the viability of a nuclear energy program during the country's 2006-2007 energy crisis.
Ghana has been operating a small Chinese research reactor since 1994.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News