Business News of Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Three International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Nuclear Energy Experts, are on a working visit to Ghana to confer and offer their advice on the adoption of nuclear energy for electricity generation.
The experts, met with Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) on Tuesday, to listen to a line-up of presentation and discussions on issues such as the current state of the country’s Nuclear Power Programme (NPP) agenda, the past, present and future of sustainable energy security as well as electricity generation.
Professor Benjamin Jabez Nyarko, Director-General of the GAEC, said Ghana had made steady progress since it conceived the idea of going for nuclear power for its electricity generation.
However there is the need to hasten the passage of the nuclear regulatory bill, which is presently with Parliament, because it is supposed to serve as a guide and also help in the acquisition of the requisite license for the operation of NPP.
Prof. Nyarko said the experts would also have several meetings with some key institutions including the Radiation Protection Board, to discuss issues on regulation.
Prof Kwame Abloh, Deputy Director-General of the Commission, however explained that even though Ghana is yet to have an NPP, the realisation that nuclear power is the most viable option to complement hydroelectric, thermal and gas energy for electricity, must push for further commitment by all to make it a reality.
According to him current economic growth rates, coupled with the high demands for electricity for both domestic and industrial use among other things have led to excessive pressure on the unreliable hydro power systems which was the main source power generation for the country.
Prof Abloh said the challenges with other alternatives sources was that Thermal power was very expensive to operate due to the high prices of crude oil and the unreliable natural gas supply from Nigeria has often led to serious shortfalls in electricity supply to consumers.
He said Ghana has a road map for the NPP which requires a step by step approach and strong policy support, amidst long term commitment by all.
Government remains committed to the IAEA, and its preparations, has formulated the Nuclear Energy Programme Implementation Organisation, under the Ministry of Power, to support the development of nuclear power Ghana.
The establishment of the National Energy Policy, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, as well as the National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy among others, were all efforts towards the realisation of a NPP are all part of the preparatory stages to the entire nuclear programme.
He said Government represented by the Commission is also partnering with a number of countries including Russia for financial and technical assistance due to the capital intensive nature of putting up a nuclear power plant, and has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China in this regard.
He said the needed human resource is being developed to ensure the peaceful use of nuclear and related technologies, citing the Graduate School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences of the University of Ghana, which was a postgraduate school established by GAEC with support from the IAEA.
He said the technical issues concerning the siting of the NPP is being considered by the appropriate authorities, while grid infrastructure are being improved to ensure a safe fusion of nuclear power supply.
Prof Aboh said GAEC is pursuing a vigorous public education programme on the entire nuclear energy process, the benefits and dangers, focusing on the academia, policy makers, the media and other key groups.