Nuclear power as alternative power source in Ghana
Ghana has a long and complicated history with nuclear power tracing back to the country’s post-independence era.
It is important to anchor the point that Ghana considered nuclear power dating back to 1960s but has been unable to achieve this long-existing agenda of producing electricity from nuclear energy.
Dr. Stephen Yamoah, Executive Director of Nuclear Power Ghana
Despite being wrecked at various stages, recent developments around Ghana’s nuclear agenda gives hope, serving as a shining example to West African sub-region.
Prof. B.J.B Nyarko, Director-General of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) & Board Chairman of Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG)
Ghana has severally encountered power crisis in 1983, 1984, 1997, 1998, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2011, and 2017 attributed to energy supply challenges. Domestic natural gas and oil reserves provided some relief to Ghaianans. However, projections show that these will evaporate by 2045. The National Electrification Scheme (NES) focused on all inclusive power access by 2020 but this is achievable by 2022.
Access to power in Ghana is genuinely widespread with the electricity access rate at 85% in 2019. But, issues with the Ghana’s conventional sources of power signal that everything looks good for Ghana to pursue its long-existing nuclear power aspirations alongside other alternative energy generation options to accomplish multiple goals of economic development.
By 2057, Ghana desires to have a profoundly industrialised economy. It has singled out nuclear power as a critical vehicle of advancement. Ghana’s nuclear desires began with the foundation of the Kwabenya Nuclear Reactor Project in 1961. Wrecked by back-to-back military coup d’état, the venture stays uncompleted. Obligation to the foundation of a working, compelling nuclear power programme from government has additionally been inconsistent.
But, ongoing improvements give trust and confidence to usher-in nuclear energy agenda. The arrival of nuclear power to the country’s improvement plan is speed up by the requirement for a steady power supply. In 2015 the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission approached the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to complete a ‘Stage 1 Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Mission (INIR)’ in the country.
INIR assessments address a significant stage in the foundation of a nuclear power programme in any nation and guarantee that master choices guide these exceptionally specialized activities. INIR assessments depend on the IAEA’s ‘Achievements in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power’ report, which spelt out three advancement periods of a nuclear power programme.
First stage reviews evaluated preparedness of Ghana to embark on the road towards nuclear power and occur at the concrete decision-making level. Second stage reviews followed straightforwardly from the first and involved instituting substantial activities after the choice to flip out has been taken. In the last stage, the nuclear power programme is to be implemented.
Nuclear power industry remains the driving force of job creation yet demand highly skilled labour and promotes the growth of the economy. It is projected that 1000 Megawatts of nuclear power plant creates direct employment for 700 to 1000 people during its operation.
Nuclear Power Energy Institute Study (2012) shows nuclear power plants create the largest workforce annual income based on both large capacity and being a labour-intensive technology. It must be noted that the workforce of Nuclear power plant remains one of the highest paying jobs in established nuclear nations such USA, China, South Korea, Russia, Argentina and others.
The time is right for Ghana to fully implement nuclear power agenda. The grounds for my argument is that it will fix power for industrial needs. Sufficient energy is the bedrock of the Ghanaian economy because electricity is a key determinant of economic prosperity of Ghana.
If the way to nuclear power in Ghana is anything to pass by, it is a telling guide to other African nations of the responsibility required, just as the significance of political solidness and political will in carrying out an undertaking that holds tremendous potential for financial and human development.
When nuclear power is added to the energy mix, foreign investors will be pulled to invest in Ghana because stable electricity supply to boost smooth operation of businesses, improving income status of Ghana through taxes. It can likewise assist Ghana to achieve its agenda of turning into a power net exporter to numerous ECOWAS Member States. This will then, at that point, fortify the lower center pay economic status of Ghana since the energy insufficiencies and roadblocks would be fixed.
Nuclear power is a capital-intensive venture for Ghana yet seeing what Ghana is probably going to acquire out of it, it is economically rational that Ghana has chosen and is working tirelessly on it as an extra source of power.
Although the establishment of nuclear power plant requires a great deal of time and colossal capital, the rising energy demand will be fulfilled in the meantime with optimal short-to medium-term agenda that suggests cost-effective electricity power generation options whilst considering long time plans with the incorporation of nuclear and other baseload energy advancements.
Central to this discourse, it is obvious by the arguments above that implementation of nuclear power could be described as ‘strategic’ to Ghana’s self-sufficient energy agenda. It is therefore, significant in my view to give the book runners of Nuclear Power Ghana and government all the necessary encouragement to play their role as the owner/ operator of Ghana’s first nuclear power plant, even more effectively through policies that will strengthen them and straighten any rough edges that may be found among them. Suffice it to say that the preference in essence for nuclear power and dependence on same, guarantees Ghana’s independence in the energy sector.
Under the scrutiny of a well-vexed hand in English, the necessary ingredients have been explored and included in this discourse on Ghana’s nuclear agenda. If respected for its ability, it will be the “light upon thy path in night and a staff in thy hands against all odds”.
Source: Jerry John Akornor