Ghana’s Minister for Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh says Ghana is looking forward to having nuclear energy as part of the country’s energy mix.
This, he explained, is because energy from nuclear is clean and also one of the cheapest sources of energy.
“Government envisions an energy future not of either nuclear or renewables, but of nuclear and renewables.
“There is a growing chorus of voices recognising that nuclear energy has an important role in decarbonizing electricity generation for accelerated industrial development,” Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh observed.
The Minister said this in a speech read for him by Seth Mahu, a Deputy Director at the Ministry of Energy, at a workshop organised by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) on Ghana’s Nuclear Power Efforts in Accra.
“While renewable energy sources are expected to continue to grow significantly, nuclear power, an important part of today’s clean energy, is also the largest source of low-carbon electricity generation in advanced economies, providing about 40 percent of all low carbon generation,” Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh said.
Quoting an IEA report titled ‘Nuclear Power is a clean energy system’, he said the report reiterated the fact that without nuclear investment, achieving a sustainable energy system would be much harder and would have implications for emissions, costs and energy security in any country.
Ghana’s Energy Minister also emphasised that within Ghana’s power generation circles, issues on consistent demand growth, high tariffs for industries, affordability and resilience criteria have brought to the front burner the issue of an alternative baseload power.
As a measure to augment Ghana’s energy sources in 2007, Ghana’s former President, Agyekum Kufuor set up a committee to explore the possibility of Ghana using nuclear energy as an alternative baseload source of power.
That was in furtherance of Ghana’s first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s vision of establishing Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) to spearhead the establishment of nuclear power plant in the future.
This good initiative, Dr. Opoku Prempeh said was continued by successive governments, leading to the birth of Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG), the owner cum operator of Ghana’s intended first Nuclear Power Plant.
He assured that he would focus on providing relevant resources to build a strong safety culture and resilient management system that adheres to standards in the planning and development of the 19 infrastructural issues and related processes.
Dr. Opoku Prempeh also expressed the believe that the forum focuses on future nuclear energy innovation and future technologies for clean energy and to drive deep decarbonisation of Ghana’s power agenda.
According to him, there are many examples of innovation in the nuclear industry that is already paving the way ahead.
In addition to electricity generation, nuclear energy, he said can provide solution to an even wider range of applications for the country.
Innovative nuclear technologies such as small Medium Rector (SMRs), Dr. Opoku Prempeh explained, would complement existing large reactions to enable deep decarbonisation as part of the clean energy transition.
“Nuclear technologies are equally improving people’s lives in many other ways and are supporting sustainable developments. Medical, industry and agricultural applications of nuclear technologies are used all over the world, including Ghana,” he said.
Ghana’s Energy Minister further stressed that a new nuclear power station does not only generate reliable low-carbon electricity but also provides many wider social and economic benefits both during its development, construction and subsequent 60-year operational phase.