Ghana has taken major steps to venture into the production and exportation of nuclear energy by the year 2029.
Over the past six decades, the country has had to rely on hydroelectricity as its main source of power, with support from other energy sources like gas, crude and thermal plants.
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However, the country’s growing population means the aforementioned energy sources have become insufficient to cater for the national grid.
Also, the cost of electricity, which has extremely increased in recent years, has necessitated the need for Ghana to consider other cheaper energy sources to supplement the national grid.
To this end, steps have been taken to add nuclear energy to the already existing energy sources in the country by the year 2029.
If everything goes according to plan, Ghana is also expected to be able to export nuclear energy to other neighbouring West African countries in the next decade.
This was revealed by the Deputy Director of Nuclear and Alternative Energy at the Ministry of Energy, Dr. Robert Bright Mawuka Sogbadji.
Speaking to public information officers and some selected members from the media, he emphasized the need for Ghana to embrace nuclear energy.
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According to him, contrary to myths that nothing good comes from nuclear energy, there are a lot of advantages that nuclear technologies have on offer.
He explained that nuclear power is a much cheaper form of energy when compared to solar, coal or hydro.
“A lot of people when they hear about nuclear, then they begin to have a lot of negative thoughts about it,” Dr. Sogbadji said.
“Some people do not even understand what goes into it…. We are not saying that we are leaving all other options; we are considering the solar, the wind, the waste-to-energy, but the key thing is that we need energy that is affordable, that can stimulate economic activities and that can create jobs.”
He further stated that “This year we are to finalise our progression report and then the country will issue a white paper on our nuclear programme”, adding that “based on the roadmap of the Ghana nuclear power programme we are to commence construction by 2023 and looking at injecting nuclear energy into the grid by 2029, 2030”.
Also speaking at the event was General Director of Rosatom Central and South Africa, Dimitry Shornikov, who highlighted the importance of nuclear energy to growing economies like Ghana.
He said Ghana’s plans to establish a nuclear plant is a step in the right direction, insisting nuclear power accounts for 11% of the world's electricity supply.
Communications Director of Rosatom Central and Southern Africa, Ryan Collyer, also gave a detailed presentation on the numerous benefits that Ghana stands to gain when the country begins producing nuclear energy.
He said although the initial cost of nuclear power plants is very expensive, it pays dividends in the longer term than other energy sources.
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Mr. Collyer explained that whiles solar panels and coal have less life spans, nuclear plants can last between 60 and 80 years.
“Once the initial costs have been paid off, a nuclear power plant creates abundant power for a fraction of the cost and essentially becomes a cash cow for the country,” he added.
Other prominent personalities who spoke at the event were the Acting Director of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Prof. Kwame Agboh; the Director of Renewable & Nuclear Energy at the Energy Ministry, Wisdom Ahiataku-Togobo; Manager of the Nuclear Power Institute, Dr. Vincent Y. Agbodemegbe, amongst many other nuclear energy experts.
Public information officers and journalists who attended the nuclear boot camp were also advised to be mindful of what they report when it comes to issues regarding nuclear power.
Media personnel were urged to endeavor to understand issues in the nuclear industry, so that they can have proper knowledge when relaying information to the public, without any misinterpretation.