General News of Tuesday, 24 January 2017
International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) scientists and nuclear experts on the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) have given Ghana thumbs up for her preparation so far for nuclear energy.
“Ghana has established effective mechanisms to involve a wide and comprehensive range of national stakeholders in the relevant activities,” the experts stated after an eight-day peer review of the phase one of Ghana’s nuclear power programme.
“This ensures an inclusive process in the studies required for the government to make a knowledgeable decision on a nuclear power programme,” the review team noted.
During the review dubbed, “the International Peer Review,” the team noted that Ghana had already completed or initiated a significant number of studies.
A Senior Nuclear Engineer of the Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section of the IAEA, Mr Anthony Kenneth Stott, who made a presentation to close the eight-day programme, commended Ghana for establishing several working groups of relevant environmental stakeholders.
“This structured and collaborative approach ensures that the environmental protection criteria are comprehensive and provides a mechanism for the elaboration of detailed environmental protection requirements,” he said.
He, however, stated that Ghana needed to further assess its legal framework to ensure its adequacy for nuclear power.
“Ghana needs to prepare itself for early phase two activities including discussions with vendors and other potential partners,” Mr Stott added.
He said Ghana had 90 days after the report was delivered to inform the IAEA if it wanted the results of the INIR mission to be uploaded onto the IAEA website or not.
Advantage of nuclear power
The Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Professor Benjamin J.A. Nyarko, contended that even though there might be adverse effect with nuclear power, the advantages outweighed the disadvantages.
He noted that the government’s one district one factory policy would face challenges if there was not enough power, adding that energy was key in every industrialisation.
Prof. Nyarko said Ghana was energy deficient, “And if we really want that industrialisation where we want one district one factory then energy is the key.”
Prof. Nyarko stressed that one of the reliable and clean sources of energy was nuclear power, and observed that the over-reliance on hydro for power generation in the country was a serious challenge currently and there was an urgent need for energy mix.
He said even though nuclear power was an expensive venture, its safety and environmentally friendly nature made it more pressing for the country to adopt it.
The Director of Renewable of Alternate Energy of the Ministry of Energy, Mr Wisdom Ahiataku-Togobo, assured the experts of the government’s commitment to include nuclear in the energy mix, recalling in 2007 when government took a Cabinet decision on the issue.
“Since then, significant progress has been made,” he said, and commended the IAEA for its immense support of guiding Ghana to achieve the current feat.
He announced that the Nuclear Regulatory Authority had been passed by Parliament to oversee licensing, regulation and monitoring of various steps that needed to be taken as far as the development of nuclear power was concerned.
Mr Ahiataku-Togobo thanked the GAEC for ensuring that the project was on schedule and gave an assurance that the government was committed to addressing the recommendations of the peer review team.