… to cut down energy cost and guarantee constant supply
Board Chairman of Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG), Fred Oware, has said the country is planning to switch its energy base-load – the permanent minimum load that a power supply system is required to deliver – from the Akosombo and Kpong hydro power systems to nuclear once the nation completes the establishment of a nuclear plant.
In an exclusive interview with the B&FT, Mr. Oware – who chairs the board of the newly created government institution, noted that the establishment of a nuclear plant will guarantee the provision of regular and cheap power to push the nation’s industrialisation agenda.
He added that currently a series of studies are being carried out to finalise a decision on Ghana’s nuclear energy future, with special focus on the attraction of some private investment to aid in the process of finalising the research to reach a firm decision on nuclear energy.
His hope is to see Ghana’s industries powered by nuclear energy by 2030.
“All studies all over the world have shown that nuclear power turns out to be the cheapest. The investment required to build a nuclear plant is huge, but this is a plant that when you build and switch on you can be assured that for one year or 18 months or so it is running; and in terms of the capacity, you get at least 90%.
“Meanwhile, if you rely on renewable energy like solar, you are sure that the sun won’t shine for 24 hours; with hydro it will not rain throughout the year; and thermal has its own issues, and you are also not assured of the maximum capacity.
“For the nuclear option, you are assured of best uninterrupted capacity generation of over 90 percent. If you look at all these, nuclear offers a good opportunity to lower the cost of power currently – especially when you use it as your base load,” Mr. Oware told the B&FT.
Ghana’s current peak demand is less than 3,000 megawatts, and with Akosombo and Kpong as the country’s base load which grants a maximum of 1,500 megawatts, Mr. Oware explained that with nuclear power providing 1,000 or 2,000 megawatts plant capacity into the future, Ghanaians can be certain that incidents of power outages will become a thing of the past.
“Nuclear will run smoothly, and so the other systems will come in to support when the demand goes up. But we are using plants which by themselves are susceptible to planned and unplanned shutdown as the nation’s base load, then we are likely to have what we are having right now.”
He added that the move will also avert reoccurrence of the power crises which hit the country between 2012 and 2016.
Site for Nuclear Plant
Even though studies are ongoing, the country has zoomed in on four locations suitable for establishment of the plant. According to the NPG Board Chairman, until finalisation of all the studies it will not be appropriate to disclose the sites’ location.
But the parameters that were used in choosing the locations exempted earthquake-prone and densely populated areas.
One of the studies which will be key in revealing the location is a Public Perception Study that is currently ongoing to ensure the nation is carried along the nuclear energy journey.
The study will bring out all the concerns people may be having toward nuclear, and also derive strategies to provide information to satisfy all concerns.