The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday gave a firm assurance that it is working with the Nuclear Regulatory Authority to ensure all safety procedures are followed for a successful national nuclear programme.
The nuclear power programme seeks to build and manage a nuclear plant to produce affordable electricity in a safe and friendly environment for socio-economic development.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mr Kwabena Badu-Yeboah, the Acting Director of Environmental Assessment and Management at the EPA, said the agency had been involved in the nuclear programme since its inception.
He said the EPA actively participated in phase one of the three-milestone approaches towards introducing nuclear power, which included pre-feasibility study, assessment of infrastructure, financing, technology to be deployed, safety, security, and siting.
Mr Badu-Yeboah recalled that as part of phase one, a team paid a working visit to South Africa for members to be abreast of the nuclear power plant management.
“We are prepared for the establishment of a nuclear plant, and I can guarantee the safety and security of it. People should not entertain fears of accidents similar to the ones that occurred in some jurisdictions years ago. We are taking the utmost safety standards with all stakeholders, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, for a successful programme,” he said.
The EPA, he noted, had shared information on safety and was constantly working with the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) to ensure compliance.
Mr Badu-Yeboah said the EPA and the NRA would soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to provide a platform for a seamless relationship in the management and protection of the environment.
“Under the MOU, parties shall take a critical look at the NRA Act 895, EPA Act 490, Act 917 and other laws related to the environment, radiation protection and their existing regulation, and identify all areas of co-operation,” he said.
The pact would collaborate the decommissioning of nuclear facilities and the review and approval of the decommissioning plan, where the EPA would, particularly, be interested in the final disposal, Mr Badu-Yeboah said.
The MOU would require the constitution of a seven-member committee to prepare specific environmental assessment procedures for a nuclear power plant, he said.
Mr Badu-Yeboah said nuclear energy was the cleanest power source essential for sustainable economic growth and improved human welfare.
Comparing Nuclear energy and other power generation sources, he said nuclear energy provided access to reliable and affordable energy, mitigating the negative impacts of climate change.
“A nuclear reactor produces electricity in much the same way as other power plants. The chain reaction produces energy, which turns water into steam. The pressure of the steam turns a generator, which produces electricity,” he explained.
Currently, more than 400 commercial reactors are operating in more than 30 countries, including the United States of America, France, Russian, South Korea, Spain, United Arab Emirates and Sweden.