Prof. Samuel B. Dampare (seated left), Director-General, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, together with David Cleave (seated middle), Executive Director, International Science and Technology Centre, and Robert Temple (right), General Counsel and Secretary, Nuscale Power, during the signing of the agreement in Accra.  Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
Prof. Samuel B. Dampare (seated left), Director-General, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, together with David Cleave (seated middle), Executive Director, International Science and Technology Centre, and Robert Temple (right), General Counsel and Secretary, Nuscale Power, during the signing of the agreement in Accra. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO

Ghana, US sign MoU to strengthen nuclear power partnership

Ghana and the United States (US) have signed two Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen partnerships on nuclear power generation.

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The MoU included the establishment of a Regional Certification Programme and contractual agreement for the provision of the NuScale Exploration (E2) Centre and related services at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC).

The Director General of the GAEC, Professor Samuel B. Dampare, signed on behalf of Ghana, while the Executive Director, Head of Missions of the International Science and Technology Centre (ISTC), David Cleave, and Consul General and Secretary, Robert K. Temple, signed on behalf of the US.

The signing ceremony took place at the third edition of the African Nuclear Business Platform held in Accra yesterday.

Safe, secure nuclear use

The US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, Ann Ganzer, who announced the agreement, said it was to further support the country’s safe and secure use of nuclear power, including establishing the country as a small modular reactor (SMR) regional hub.

She said SMRs could provide reliable power, complement other clean energy sources, have flexible siting requirements, and use a small land area. She said the US SMRs incorporated advanced safety features, including designs to withstand extreme weather and seismic events, and could be tailored to match the specific needs of a country's power grid.

“Importantly, SMRs can play a critical role in decarbonising non-electric sectors, such as industry and transportation,” she said. “The deployment of a NuScale E2 Centre in Ghana - a first for the African continent- will be a key tool for preparing the workforce for SMR deployment in Ghana,” she added.

Training

Ms Ganzer said the E2 Centre, a simulator of NuScale Power's SMR control room funded by the US Foundational Infrastructure for the Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) Programme, would provide a hands-on training facility to develop and train the next-generation of nuclear operators and engineers.

“It will also establish Ghana as a regional educational and training hub for the next stage of safe and secure civil nuclear deployments in Africa, consistent with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Milestones Approach and nonproliferation standards,” she said.

She said the MoU for a Regional Welding Certification Programme, between the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) and the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), would also provide essential training and a unique skill set to enable Ghanaian technicians to qualify for construction jobs in the nuclear energy sector.

“The United States is committed to enabling the use of innovative clean energy technologies to enhance global access to zero-emission, reliable 24/7 power and to support sustainability, energy security and climate goals,” she said.

SMR development

Prof. Dampare explained that the country at the Inter-Ministerial Conference held in Washington, USA, last year initiated talks with officials from the US and Japan to support Ghana as a First Mover on SMR Development in Africa.

He said the initiative was putting the future in the hands of the youth and providing the needed facilities to facilitate their training, and expressed the country's commitment to putting the resources to the best and most productive use.

He also urged Ghanaians, and Africans in general to take full advantage of the facilities when completed in the coming months.

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