Ghana plans to install its first nuclear power plants by 2030 to diversify its energy mix with cheaper and more sustainable electricity production, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Authority.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a press conference in Accra under the auspices of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA), Dr Steven Yamoah, the Executive Director of Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG), said “hopefully by the end of the year we should be able to, in dialogue with the Ministry of Energy, have a direction as to the vendor and technology and then it will pave the way for us to go into contract negotiations and discussions.”
The country’s nuclear power programme is expected to take shape with the selection of a partner and technology by the end of the year, he disclosed.
Dr Yamoah disclosed that NPG had two engagements with the vendors, especially visiting the preferred sites to have an appreciation of the terrain.
Alongside the issue of the sites where the construction of the power plant will take place, the operators have also identified the preferred site and a backup site. “We did a lot of technical studies in the area, studies are ongoing to now to get into detail site characterization that will enable us collect site specific data that will inform the design of the power plant.”
He further indicated that per the roadmap that was developed, the target was to complete phase two by 2024, phase one was 2017 but was missed and eventually completed in 2019, creating a gap that needs to be filled.
On the construction phase alone, he noted that it would take about six years, but maintained that it would depend on which direction the country would go for the first power project.
Dr Emmanuel Ampomah Amoako, a Director of Nuclear Installations stated that the Nuclear Regulatory Authority is on course to work out the mechanisms to establish a decommissioning fund.
He explained that “the purpose of the fund is to ensure that if I come to apply for a license to operate and per any chance, I am unable to finish my business and later go back, there should be some funds available to take care of the waste or business I will leave behind. This is one of the responsibilities of this fund and it is to ensure that if a company decides to go out of business, there would be some funds available to take care of the waste that will be there.”
The Director of Nuclear Power Institute (NPI), Dr Archibold Buah-Kwofi, on his part, noted that the country has “floated request for further information to vendors, we have received responses, those responses are being evaluated, we will come up with a report that will advise the government on the potential strategic partner or vendor or technology to go with.”
The Nuclear Regulatory Authority is an independent regulatory body established by the NRA Act, 2015 (Act 895) and began operations in January 2016. It seeks to effectively oversee the introduction of nuclear power into Ghana’s electrical energy grid by addressing safety, security and safeguards matters by instituting an effective regulatory infrastructure.
The NRA responsible for regulating the civilian use of nuclear and other radioactive materials in medicine, industry, agriculture, education and research in Ghana.
Dzifa Hukporti, ISD