Ghana impresses Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review team

28 October 2019

Ghana has made progress in implementing the recommendations of an International Atomic Energy Agency Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission, a team of IAEA and international experts said on 24 October. They conducted a follow-up INIR mission on 21-24 October requested by the government of Ghana to assess progress made since the 2017 Phase 1 INIR mission.

William Owuraku Aidoo (centre) with the INIR follow-up mission team in Accra (Photo: GNPPO)

Ghana is considering adding nuclear power to its energy mix to enhance economic development and provide a stable and affordable supply of electricity to its people. The government established the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation (GNPPO) to coordinate all preparatory activities related to the development of the nuclear power programme. In 2018, the presidential cabinet approved the setting up of Nuclear Power Ghana to oversee the construction and operation of Ghana’s first nuclear power plant.

"It is evident that Ghana has made a concerted effort to address the recommendations and suggestions our team made two and half years ago,” said team leader Anthony Stott, who is the operational lead of the IAEA’s Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section. "The main preparatory work needed for the government to be able to commit to go forward with the nuclear power programme has been done. What remains is further consideration of certain options to ensure Ghana is well prepared for discussions with vendors and other potential partners."

The 2017 review had provided 12 recommendations and eight suggestions to assist Ghana in making further progress in its infrastructure development. The follow-up INIR team concluded that Ghana has completed eight of the recommendations and six of the suggestions. The remaining four recommendations require further attention and action.

The follow-up INIR team reached the following main conclusions: Ghana has completed the studies needed for the government to be able to make a knowledgeable commitment to a nuclear power programme; it has completed its assessment of the adequacy of its national legal framework and has made plans to proceed with the necessary amendments; it has begun preparing itself for Phase 2 activities including discussions with vendors and other potential partners; and further work is needed in areas such as government funding, stakeholder involvement planning, fuel cycle options for the first nuclear power plant and goals for local participation.

William Owuraku Aidoo, Ghana's deputy minister of energy and chairman of the GNPPO, said his country has stayed committed to the nuclear power programme and has been working to implement the recommendations made by the first INIR mission in 2017.

"The energy forecast in the medium to long term requires alternative source like nuclear power to diversify our energy supply base and to enhance energy security to achieve the industrialisation agenda,” he said. “Nuclear power is expected to play a key role in fulfilling the aims and objectives of our country’s development plan.”

He added that nuclear power has zero greenhouse gas emissions at the plant operation level, noting that, like other African countries, Ghana is among the least responsible for climate change but the most vulnerable to its effects.

Benjamin Nyarko, director general of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and deputy chairman of the GNPPO, said: "We started the nuclear power programme with very energetic and enthusiastic young men and women, with a very capable and willing government. I am glad to say that the enthusiasm and commitment to the programme remains unwavering."

He added: "Like other countries that operate nuclear research reactors, we already had people with the right nuclear mind-set and orientation. Scaling it up to meet the high standards and requirements of a nuclear power plant is a huge task, and we have demonstrated that we are up to the task."

Ghana has safely operated a nuclear research facility for 24 years and has significant experience with the non-power application of nuclear technology, including in the medical and industrial fields, the IAEA said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News