Ghana is the second economy of the ECOWAS region with a GDP of $47.3 Billion. After suffering years of crisis and slowdown between 2012 and 2016, Ghana is seen as one of the world’s fastest-growing economy in 2019 according to “World Economic Forum”. Ghana’s economy is mainly composed of export of raw material such as oil, bauxite, Cacao…
Ghana generated 13 TWh, 54% from fossil fuel and 46% from hydro. For Ghana, reliable and cost-effective electricity is the entry point to high value-added growth in the manufacturing and export-oriented sector. For example, bauxite reserves – the ore used to produce aluminum – are an important source of income, but are still exported in raw forms.
“We have a foundry, but it does not run at full capacity because electricity is too expensive …If we had profitable electricity, we would be exporting melted bauxite at a much higher price. This would be a big step forward for Ghana.” – Nii Allotey, Director of the Nuclear Power Institute Ghana Atomic Energy Commission.
The Ghanaian government has great ambitions. They want to triple the country’s electricity production in 15 years, mainly through nuclear power. In 2015, Ghana signed an agreement with ROSATOM to develop the nuclear infrastructure in the country. Also, Ghana showed interest in Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) as they are aiming for a capacity of 700MW which could be provided through SMRs.
Prof. Benjamin Nyarko (director-general of Ghana’s Atomic Energy Commission) who will be participating to Africa Nuclear Business Platform in Kenya, a conference dedicated to help the flourishing of nuclear new build in Africa, stated that “Ghana’s stability, economic growth, and experience with nuclear research make it well-positioned to be the second country in Africa after South Africa, to introduce nuclear to its energy grid safely.”
Ghana has been working with and following IAEA guidance and complying with it. Last January, the government has constituted a new company called “Nuclear Power Ghana” as a Special Purpose Vehicle to oversee the full implementation of the program. By establishing the NPG, the country had completed phase one of its nuclear power program and can proceed to phase two – the implementation stage where a vendor country able to produce and supply a nuclear power reactor to be used to produce the nuclear energy will be chosen.
“Cabinet has also approved the setting up of an organization to oversee the construction and operation of Ghana’s first nuclear power plant and believes it will also help our quest to achieve some of the sustainable development goals, specifically, good health and well-being, as well as quality education, which will transform our world,”
Ghana Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumiaby
Following this step, the government has released funding to support the site selection process for a nuclear power plant. Ghana is expecting the start of construction by 2023, the process of selecting the vendor country will depend on different factors such as bilateral relationship and financing as Prof. Nyarko said “We are doing technology assessment and reactor type does not differ much. However, the government may decide on the financing option of each country or the bilateral relationship between the vendor country and Ghana”
Ghana will be represented by Prof. Benjamin Nyarko, director-general, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and Wisdom Ahiataku-Togobo, Director Renewable & Alternative Energies, Ministry of Energy at Africa Nuclear Business Platform which is aiming to bring together African leaders and international stakeholders to help in its modest way the development of peaceful nuclear energy in the African continent.
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Author: Ibrahim Ababou. Global Account Manager – Nuclear, Project Manager – Africa Nuclear Business Platform.