Presidential approval for nuclear in Ghana

02 September 2022

A declaration from President Nana Akufo-Addo transfers the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation (GNPPO) from the Ministry of Energy to the Office of the President.

President Akufo-Addo pictured at the COP26 climate change conference in 2021 (Image: Presidency of Ghana)

The GNPPO was formed to oversee the implementation and coordination of the nuclear power programme following a 2008 cabinet decision to include nuclear in the energy mix of the African country. Ghana subsequently declared its intention to pursue a nuclear power programme for peaceful purposes in August 2013, through a letter submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Presidential statement said. An independent nuclear regulatory authority and a project company - Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG) - were also established.

The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), through its technical institute (NPI-GAEC) with support from other national bodies, has met all the Phase 1 nuclear infrastructure requirements recommended by the IAEA's Milestones approach, the statement added. IAEA Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review missions in 2017 and 2019 "concluded that Ghana has satisfied all the prescribed studies for government to make a knowledgeable commitment to a Nuclear Power Programme," it said. The studies and activities undertaken in Phase 1 of the nuclear power programme have been consolidated into a Programme Comprehensive Report (PCR).

"I, hereby, announce and instruct the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and the Minister for Energy (MoE), in collaboration with the Chief of Staff at the Office of the President, to take all the necessary steps to move the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation (GNPPO) from the Ministry of Energy to the Office of the President, to enhance proper coordination among the key institutions already established," the President said. GAEC and NPI-GAEC will continue to support the GNPPO at the Office of the President following the realignment.

The declaration also said that the government has adopted the content of the PCR "as a reflection of nuclear power infrastructure issues in the country",  and committed to "continue their transparency, adherence to the strict standards of safety, security, and accountability in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology and continue with its efforts to implement the nuclear power programme in the subsequent phases of the programme by using nuclear technology to generate electricity to accelerate national development and industrialisation."

According to information from World Nuclear Association, Ghana's Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation in 2021 said five vendors - from the USA, Russia, Canada and South Korea - had responded to a request for interest in helping the country build its first plant, with an expectation that a contract for a 1 GWe plant would be signed sometime in 2024-2025. The USA earlier this year said it is supporting Ghana's adoption of small modular reactor technology under the US Department of State's Foundational Infrastructure for Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology - or FIRST - programme.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News