Nuclear power project: financing, technology type decisions linger


Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Prof. Samuel Boakye Dampare, has clarified that the country has yet to finalise the specific technology it will employ to advance its nuclear power agenda.

This revelation comes amid a backdrop of anticipation and cautious optimism surrounding the nation’s energy future.

Ghana’s nuclear power ambitions have been a topic of growing interest, with the potential to play a pivotal role in the energy portfolio as it eyes the net zero target of 2070.

The meticulous approach that Ghana is taking in this endeavour, Prof. Dampare hinted, aims at ensuring that the choice of technology aligns with the nation’s long-term energy goals and safety standards.

The Director-General of GAEC, in a media briefing following the Ministerial Conference on the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC) in Accra, further highlighted that financing options for the nuclear energy project are still open to government.

“When it comes to the broader financing of nuclear power plants, government is yet to decide which technology Ghana wants to go with. They are considering so many things, among which is financing because building a nuclear plant is not easy.

“You have to get a reliable strategic partner. So, government is considering all these given that it’s a long-term partnership,” he stated.

The financial aspect of such an ambitious project is a crucial consideration, and this open-ended approach affirms Ghana’s commitment to exploring various avenues to secure the necessary funding.

It can be recalled that Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG) recently said it will soon settle on a strategic partner for a nuclear power project, having already selected a preferred site – including a backup location.

According to the National Energy Transition Framework, use of natural gas is expected to decline in the mid-2050s due to the optimal scaling up of nuclear power in the generation mix. It is in line with this commitment that efforts are been made to develop nuclear power as a key energy source, with the hope of announcing a strategic partner by the close of 2023.

It is understood that vendor engagement for strategic partners is advanced – with a report being finalised for submission and engagement with the Ministry of Energy.

Already, identification of the preferred and support site to enable NPG proceed with plans to build the first nuclear power plant is said to have been done.

Meanwhile, Director-General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development/Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD/NEA) of the U.S., William D. Magwood, speaking at the press briefing lauded the progress of the country’s nuclear power ambition.

He said: “What I have seen and understood thus far in Ghana, is that there is a very strong core of people in Ghana who have excellent training; the structures are coming into place; a regulatory organisation that understands nuclear safety; ministries that understand the policy level of activities necessary to go forward, and engagement with industry”.

All these, he said, demonstrate that Ghana is ahead of other countries the U.S. has been engaging, while stressing the decision to understand and explore nuclear technology options at the moment is advantageous to the country.

In a related development, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr Kwaku Afriyie, disclosed that the country could be next on the continent to commission its nuclear power plant after South Africa and Egypt.

Speaking in an interview after the Ministerial Conference on IFNEC, he said: “We are not far behind. We are in Phase two (of the nuclear power plant development). We are using the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) guidelines.”

“With this one,” he observed, “we will have no issues with the international community. Phase two means we have set up regulatory bodies and entities, located the sites – which are three, and are now engaging vendors, being the countries to bring us the technology. But we are yet to make a choice.”

He acknowledged that nuclear technologies have evolved, and therefore the country is taking its time to settle on this.

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