Ghana vice president confirms nuclear commitment

02 August 2019

The establishment of an organisation responsible for the construction and operation of Ghana's first nuclear power plant has been approved by the country's cabinet, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia said this week.

Mahamudu Bawumia (centre) cuts the ribbon at the LEU Research Reactor Facility and the International MNSR Training Facility (Image: GAEC)

Speaking at the commissioning of three Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) facilities in Accra on 30 July, Bawumia said the government had already released funding to support the site selection process for a nuclear power plant.

"Cabinet has also approved the setting up of an organisation to oversee the construction and operation of Ghana's first nuclear power plant and believes it will also help our quest to achieve some of the sustainable development goals, specifically, good health and well-being, as well as quality education, which will transform our world," he said.

According to World Nuclear Association, Ghana's 2016 electricity production of 13 TWh comprised fossil fuels (7 TWh) and hydro (6 TWh). The government announced in 2007 that it planned to introduce nuclear power on energy security grounds, and in 2012 the energy ministry set up the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation. This is responsible for developing legal and regulatory frameworks, and coordinating the activities of stakeholders. The ministry has identified three potential sites for a nuclear power plant.

Legislation to establish an independent nuclear regulatory body, the Ghana Nuclear Regulatory Authority - a prerequisite for operating a nuclear power plant - was passed by parliament in August 2015.

The GAEC was set up in 1963 to introduce nuclear science and technology into the country. Its 30 kW Chinese research reactor was converted by the China Institute of Atomic Energy to run on low-enriched uranium in 2017, the first Chinese-designed Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) outside China to be converted. As the Low-Enriched Uranium Core Research Reactor, it was one of the three GAEC facilities to be formally commissioned by Bawumia on 30 July. The others were the International MNSR Training Facility and the Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute Laboratories.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News