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Business News of Wednesday, 24 May 2017


Ghana inches closer to building a nuclear power plant

Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko recieving the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Report Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko recieving the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Report

Ghana, Wednesday, made a giant step towards its nuclear agenda when it received the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Report (INIR) from a team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The report forms part of Phase 1 of Ghana’s Nuclear Power Program evaluated the status of major infrastructure issues against the Agency’s Milestones Approach for the introduction of nuclear power. These issues include legal and regulatory frameworks, nuclear safety and security, radioactive waste management, human resource development, stakeholder involvement, the capacity of the electrical grid and several others.

The purpose for this evaluation exercise was to assist Ghana in making a knowledgeable decision for its nuclear power program.

The INIR mission is one of the main IAEA services to assist newcomers that are considering or have decided to include nuclear power in their energy mix.

It is part of the Agency’s comprehensive assistance package to the countries considering or taking steps to embark upon or expand a nuclear energy program.

The report which was presented to the Minister of Energy, Emmanuel Boakye Agyarko, by the Deputy Director General – Nuclear Energy Department of the IAEA, Mikhail Chudakov, commended Ghana for being well prepared and also able to manage its participation in the review process effectively.

However, the report recommended that the West African nation needs to complete all the studies needed for the government to make a knowledgeable decision on nuclear power program.

The report further recommended that Ghana needs to further assess its legal framework to ensure its adequacy for nuclear power plant.

Additionally, Ghana needs to prepare itself for early Phase 2 activities including discussions with vendors and other potential partners.

Following the submission of the report, Ghana has 90 days beginning from today to inform the IAEA if it wanted the results of the INIR mission to be uploaded onto the IAEA website or not.

Mr. Chudakov commenting on the report encouraged Ghana to do well to complete the studies on some key issues that remain to be completed and proceed with the development of the nuclear infrastructure to reach Milestone 1 to enable it to make a knowledgeable commitment to a nuclear power program.

He promised of the IAEA’s commitment to offer targeted technical assistance in key areas as agreed between the two parties during the IWP meeting that took place in Vienna in March, 2017.

The Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Prof. Benjamin J. B. Nyarko, also commenting on the report noted that the INIR mission was helpful in that in that it has provided Ghana with an objective review of the status of its nuclear development. The INIR mission, he added, has also helped Ghana to identify priority areas that “we need to focus on to enable us fulfill the requirements of the Phase 1 milestone of our roadmap.”

“I must say that we in the Ghana Nuclear Power Planning Organization (GNPPO) are poised for action. I believe with strong government ownership and funding support, we can accomplish the task ahead. In the immediate future, our goal is to complete all outstanding Phase 1 issues on time, and to kick-start Phase 2 feasibility and contracting activities in 2008,” he added.

The Minister for Energy, Mr. Boakye Agyarko, on his part noted that for Ghana to make significant gains in providing reliable energy, all options, including nuclear energy, must be considered.

“With the current level of growth in demand for energy, we can no longer rely solely on our traditional sources of generating power,” he noted.

Ghana was in recent past experienced sustained and disruptive periods of power outages. The power crisis, besides being a constraint to business activities, diminished economic growth in the past few years.

In its 2013 report titled, “Energizing Economic Growth in Ghana”, the World Bank estimated that the 2006-2007 power crisis cost Ghana about 1% in GDP growth.

Similarly, the Institute of Social Statistics and Economic Research (ISSER) in 2014 study estimated that the power outages from 2012 to 2016 cost the nation about US$2.1million per day in lost output and employment.

Such losses, according to the Minister, must not be repeated, hence the need for all institutions to put in their best efforts to continually support the nuclear power program.