The Deputy Chief Executive (Services) of the Volta River Authority (VRA), Ing. Ken Mensah Arthur, has said that the VRA will ensure support to Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG) in all its related activities toward the realisation of Ghana’s Nuclear Power Project.
Ing. Arthur noted that in the current era of energy transition nuclear power must be viewed positively, especially with all the regulations and guidelines associated with its pre-construction, construction, operations and decommissioning stages.
He said VRA, with its over-60 years of best practice and experience in power generation and operations, has some of the best and most experienced technical and non-technical staff to share their expertise, skills and experiences to impart knowledge and help smoothen the path for NPG to avoid or surmount some of its challenges.
He added, “If NPG gets it right, definitely it is going to be very advantageous to Ghana”.
He made the statements during NPG’s institutional engagement with Managers and key staff of the Hydro Generation Department at Akosombo. The engagement is part of NPG shareholders’ engagement plan to provide information on Ghana’s nuclear power project and value addition on professional diversity of skills.
The Executive Director of NPG, Dr. Stephen Yamoah, said nuclear is Ghana’s green and clean energy solution since it provides sustainable, affordable and reliable support to the existing energy sources.
He spoke about the key milestones achieved under Phase-1 of the Programme/Project and the high-points of Phase-2 – which will culminate in selection of the Preferred site, Strategic Vendor/Technology type and government’s public declaration.
Dr. Yamoah emphasised that nuclear power is well-regulated and policed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), even though it is a government to government (country-to-country) subject.
Dr. Seth Debrah, the Director of Nuclear Power Institute (NPI) at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), said that Ghana has been using nuclear technology since the 1980s in the areas of health, agriculture and industries. His presentation highlighted the various job diversities and unique opportunities associated with a new nuclear power project. He challenged the VRA to add value to its support for NPG; reconsider the huge energy market available for industries in the sub-region; and leverage the opportunities that Ghana’s nuclear power project offers.
Dr Debrah noted that VRA has qualified and experienced professional staff in most of the areas needed for the Nuclear Project and could assign those with the right attitude and training to provide the needed support to NPG.
“VRA and BPA provide the funds for NPG’s activities, and I do not want to perceive that VRA, after putting in all the huge sums of money, would want it to go to waste. Therefore, assisting NPG with the right human resources is a way of protecting and realising your investments in the Project”, he added.
Addressing the issue of radiation, Dr Debrah explained that all human beings are exposed to radiation every day from the sun, through x-rays, and food items such as bananas and cassava, which contain potassium 40, a radioactive isotope. However, radiation becomes harmful if it exceeds the normal exposure limit.
The Ag. Director of the Hydro Generation Department and Plant Manager of the Akosombo Generating Station, Ing. Kwaku Sarpong in his remarks noted that Nuclear Power is one of the best clean power options for reliable electricity supply without a negative impact on the environment.
He stated for Ghana to attain energy security, then nuclear is the way to go citing France as an example. “France decided to go Nuclear in the 70s, since then, they have energy security and have not recorded a single accident in their operations. This means that it is possible to operate Nuclear Power Plants without any safety issues.”, He said.
Ing. Akim Tijani, the Plant Manager for the Kpong Generating Station, in his closing view, believed that Ghana should consider the Small Modular Reactor (SMR) because of the current Grid challenges which cannot support a 1000MW capacity reactor.
He urged Government to lean to the SMRs for Ghana’s adoption but cautioned that strategic timelines should be followed for additional capacities to attain the expected capacity desired for Ghana’s industrialisation.
By Emmanuel Tetteh