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Experts review country’s nuclear power programme

Jan. 17, 2017, 12:51 p.m.

Scientists and nuclear experts from 10 countries have begun an eight-day peer review of the phase one of Ghana’s nuclear power programme.

The eight-day peer review programme dubbed ‘the International Peer Review, under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency’ (IAEA), will enable the experts to assess the infrastructure preparation of the country in 19 thematic areas in order to advise on identified gaps before the take-off of the programme.

Phase One

The first phase include a national position on the nuclear programme development, nuclear safety and management, funding and financing, legislative framework and safeguards, radiation protection, electric grid and human resource development.

Others are stakeholder involvement, site and supporting facilities, environmental protection, emergency planning, security and physical protection, nuclear fuel recycle, radioactive waste, industrial involvement and procurement.

Nuclear power

The Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Dr Nii Moi Thompson, said there were a number of positive assessments of nuclear power that provided a justification for Ghana to seriously consider nuclear power as an option for power.

He explained that besides assurance of safety, there were other compelling reasons why nuclear should be part of the future energy mix.

“In addition to its capacity for generating the base load electricity to drive industry, nuclear power is also highly environmentally friendly.

“It has zero greenhouse gas emissions at the plant operation level, a plus for Ghana’s Green Economy Agenda,” he said.

Previous moves

Dr Thompson said it was important to remember that the move for nuclear power as an option was nothing new in the country as the first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, initiated the process as far back as the 1960s.

“In a sense then, the purpose of this meeting today and everything else that culminated into it is not renew. We are simply reclaiming that which we abandoned many years ago. We are practising ‘Sankofa’,” he told the experts.

The Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Professor Benjamin J.A. Nyarko, explained that the goal of the IAEA coordinated International Peer Review was to conduct a holistic evaluation of Ghana’s nuclear infrastructure on the basis of the 19 infrastructural issues for nuclear power development.

National needs for nuclear

He said the national position would inform the experts on the country’s commitment of the development of a nuclear programme for peaceful purpose.

Professor Nyarko said Ghana’s growing energy demand, worsened by rapid population growth, industrialisation and major infrastructural development, required a comprehensive assessment of the energy infrastructure, available energy sources and how those could be exploited in the short, medium and long-term.

The Director of NENP Division of the Nuclear Power Department of Nuclear Energy of the IAEA, Mr Dohee Hahn, gave an assurance  that the IAEA would help the country develop the nuclear programme for socio-economic development.