Dr Nii Kwashie Allotey (arrowed) with some participants after the workshop
Dr Nii Kwashie Allotey (arrowed) with some participants after the workshop

Ghana to install nuclear plant 2030 - Regulatory processes underway

The Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) is accelerating the acquisition of its competencies to oversee the country’s plans to install its first nuclear power plant in 2030. 

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The authority is currently training its staff overseas with support from the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The enriched competencies will feed into the authority’s work in developing regulations, guidelines and standard review plans to conduct the authorisation process for the full life cycle of the nuclear power plant.

The NRA will also educate the public on nuclear power technologies, allay misconceptions and fear, while working with the media to achieve that.

The Director-General of the NRA, Dr Nii Kwashie Allotey, made this known in an interview after a media training workshop in Accra aimed at educating and exposing journalists to NRA law and its general operations.

He reiterated that the authority was poised to provide the needed oversight to ensure the Plant met all the required technical specifications.

“We are now developing our competencies because the area is technically deep, so we are training our staff overseas.

“We are also developing regulations and guidelines on how the plant should be designed, constructed and operated and to support the NRA Act 2015, Act 895, to work,” he said.
He reiterated that the authority was poised to provide the needed oversight to ensure the Plant met all the required technical specifications.
 

Mandate

On the mandate of the Authority, Dr Allotey said the NRA was in charge of authorising licences to companies that deal in, operate or transport ionise radiation equipment.

He said although a lot of organisations were complying to acquire a radiation licence from the NRA, others did not and had subsequently been sanctioned, with others being issued with enforcement letters.

“Every year, we have about 20 companies who are not complying; once we send them enforcement letters, most of them comply,” he noted.

He, however, said they were intensifying public education on its operations as an Authority.

NRA law

The Head of Legal Department at NRA, Ebenezer Appiah Opare, said plans were underway to amend Act 895 to bring finality to areas that were ambiguous such as the NRA receiving gifts and law on spent fuel.

In view of Act 895, he said, the NRA was the only body mandated in the country to regulate the operation of facilities carrying out activity that gave rise to radiation exposure.

He said the Act mandated organisations that produce, possess, use, import, export, transport, transfer, handle and manage radioactive material, decommission or other related activity or any practice identified by the authority to apply to it for licensing.

He noted that all radiation sources or devices entering or leaving the country also required an import permit.

He said an applicant was required to complete an application form for review before the permit could be granted or otherwise.

“Failure of the authorised person to comply with regulatory requirements, as well as conditions of authorisation requires enforcement action of which may include administrative fines, warning letters and cessation in the use of device or radioactive material,” he said.

Radiation

The Head of the Nuclear Security Department of the NRA, Simon Adu, for his part, told the Daily Graphic that the NRA was preparing towards the upcoming African Games by ensuring that the sporting venues were safe.

“If you analyse the threats within the country about radiation and radioactive sources, it is likely that someone may bring radioactive material into the country and use it to cause malicious acts at the major public event,” he said.

He said the NRA was collaborating with the International Atomic Agency and National Security in that regard.

“The threat of activating a radioactive material is possible and we need to prepare for that,” he noted.

The Director in Charge of Nuclear Installation, Dr Emmanuel Ampomah-Amoako, indicated that the NRA was leading the preparation of a National Policy for Nuclear and Radiation Safety in Ghana, which, he said, demonstrated the country’s political commitment to ensure the protection of humans and the environment from the harmful effects of ionising radiation.

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