An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts concluded an eight-day mission to Ghana today to review the country’s infrastructure development for a nuclear power programme. The Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) was carried out at the invitation of the Government of Ghana.
Ghana, whose economic development is hampered by a lack of consistent electricity supply, is considering a potential role for nuclear power in the country’s energy mix. It has established the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation (GNPPO) to coordinate all preparatory activities related to the development of nuclear power programme.
The INIR team concluded that Ghana has made considerable progress in the development of its nuclear power infrastructure. It has established effective mechanisms to involve a comprehensive range of national stakeholders in the relevant activities. The team made recommendations and suggestions aimed at assisting Ghana in making further progress in its nuclear power infrastructure development.
“The INIR mission was conducted in a cooperative and open atmosphere,” said team leader Anthony Stott, a Senior Nuclear Engineer with the IAEA’s Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section. “The Ghana team was very well prepared for the mission, and managed its participation in the review effectively.”
While Ghana has carried out or initiated a significant number of studies, some remain to be completed for the government to make a knowledgeable decision on a nuclear power programme.
The INIR mission reviewed the status of 19 nuclear power programme infrastructure issues using the IAEA Nuclear Energy Series Technical Report Evaluation of the Status of National Infrastructure Development. Prior to the INIR mission, Ghana had prepared a Self-Evaluation Report covering all infrastructure issues using this evaluation methodology and submitted the report and supporting documents to the IAEA.
The INIR team, comprising international experts from Germany, Morocco, South Africa and the United Kingdom as well as IAEA staff, highlighted areas where further action would benefit Ghana, including:
- Completion of all studies needed for the government to make a knowledgeable decision on a nuclear power programme.
- Further assessment of its legal framework to ensure its adequacy for nuclear power.
- Preparation for the next phase of activities, including discussions with vendors and other potential partners.
The team also identified good practices that would benefit other countries considering the introduction of nuclear power:
- Establishment by GNPPO of an effective technical body with a strong programme management function and mechanisms to involve a wide range of national stakeholders. This ensures an inclusive process in the studies required for the government to make a knowledgeable decision on a nuclear power programme.
- A Nuclear Programme Management Centre set up by GNPPO at an early stage to develop an understanding of management system requirements. This knowledge is being used to support the other key organizations in the development of their own management systems.
- Several working groups of environmental stakeholders set up by GNPPO as part of a structured and collaborative approach ensuring that environmental protection criteria are comprehensive and providing a mechanism for the elaboration of detailed environmental protection requirements.
Ghana, which has safely operated a nuclear research facility for 22 years, has significant experience with the non-power application of nuclear technology, including in the medical and industrial fields. The School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences of the University of Ghana is an IAEA-designated centre of excellence, offering postgraduate programmes in nuclear engineering, nuclear physics, medical physics, radiation protection and nuclear and radiochemistry.
Benjamin Nyarko, Director General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and Acting GNPPO Chairman, welcomed the outcome of the INIR mission. “Ghana is committed to the careful step-by-step development of its nuclear power programme,” he said. “The gaps identified by the mission will be tackled in earnest to enable the country to make a knowledgeable decision in 2018, as per its roadmap for nuclear power development.”