US-Africa nuclear energy summit underway in Accra
The Senior Advisor to the President, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has said that for Africa to develop its natural resources, expand its economies and improve the living condition of its citizens, it needed to develop a green dense energy technology.
"It has been proven beyond doubt that nuclear technology can provide the needed green energy for accelerated economic development.
“It is necessary, however, for the adoption of a least cost alternative technology with features of shorter construction time and also lend itself to easy grid integration to maximise the benefits of nuclear technology by African countries,” he said.
Being the youngest continent, Mr Osafo-Maafo, however, said that Africa must be worried about the consequences of climate change on its people.
The senior advisor was addressing the first US and Africa Nuclear Energy summit in Accra yesterday to fashion ways they can collaborate for their mutual benefits.
The three-day event which is being attended by government officials, policymakers, industry players, regulators and stakeholders from academia, is also aimed at coming up with measures to facilitate the implementation of nuclear power programmes on the continent.
Mr Osafo-Maafo further said that the summit offered participants the opportunity to appreciate the capacity of nuclear energy to not only decarbonise, but also stimulate economic expansion, encourage innovation, develop human capacity and advance green and sustainable solutions.
“The wide range of players present today shows the shared commitment to a greener, cleaner and more resilient generation mix that ensures sustainable economic growth and a more predictable and affordable tariff regime,” he added.
Mr Osafo-Maafo, therefore, urged the participants to take advantage of the summit's sessions and networking opportunities to create the future for their respective countries.
“I encourage the regulators of the Forum of Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa (FNBRA) to quickly ramp up their competences to support the development of nuclear programmes,” he said.
The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Security and Non-proliferation at the US Department of State, Ann Ganzer, said every country wanted a diverse set of clean energy options such as solar, hydro, wind or nuclear.
Nuclear, she said, was important because it could provide base load power to a grid, adding “you need power when the sun is not shining and when the wind is not blowing”.
“We have smart factories coming on line, we are looking at electric vehicles, and all of these things are going to need a lot more energy,” Ms Ganzer said.
The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy of Department of Energy in the US, Dr K. Michael Golf, also described the future of nuclear energy as bright, adding that it was a key element in the US’ strive to put the country on the path to net zero carbon future by 2050.