It is estimated that electricity generation from nuclear power will cost between five and eight cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), a pre-feasibility study has established.
The Director of the Nuclear Power Institute (NPI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Dr. Seth Kofi Debrah, who disclosed this, said current generation sources provided between 16 and 18 cents per kWh.
Speaking on Ghana’s nuclear power programme at the fourth Ghana Industrial Summit and Exhibition organised by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) in Accra, Dr. Debrah explained that nuclear power was an economic electricity-generation source because of its low operating cost, significantly the relatively stable fuel regime it offered.
He said nuclear power held the key to reducing overall electricity tariffs in the country and ensuring reliable power supply, which would give Ghanaian businesses the impetus to be very competitive.
"Other countries spend less than 20 per cent on electricity to produce goods and services, whereas Ghanaian industries spend close to 40 per cent on electricity. This makes Ghanaian goods and services expensive," he lamented.
Dr. Debrah also indicated that other countries had used nuclear technology to push their industrialisation agenda and developed.
He insisted that the time had come to focus on and chart the path towards nuclear power, as it had a lot of potential and a competitive edge.
"We have some energy generation potential in the areas of solar and wind and a number of hydro potential sites, with a maximum site capacity of 100 megawatts.
“There are others we have to look at, and that is, nuclear. Other countries have used nuclear technology to develop and push their industrialisation agenda, while providing well paid and secure jobs," he said.
The implementation of the programme, the Director of the NPI indicated, would generate a lot of local content and local participation in the areas of engineering, manufacturing, civil construction and assemblying services, operation and maintenance, technical support services, among others.
Dr. Debrah further argued that nuclear was not only reliable and affordable; it was also about the enormous opportunities it provided.
“We are not just talking about nuclear power plant and the pricing; we are talking about opportunities it will provide for Ghanaian industries and the benefits to the citizenry,” he added.
He noted that with the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), it was important for Ghanaian industries to properly position themselves to take full advantage of the nuclear power project.
He said the objective of the nuclear power project was to support overall economic and industrial transformation as a major driver and also promote Ghana as a sub-regional energy hub.
With respect to the progress made, he disclosed that Ghana had completed phase one of the three-phase programme and submitted a programme comprehensive report (PCR) to the government.
Efforts to generate power from nuclear technology have reached an advanced stage, with the initial engagement of vendor countries through their respective embassies in Ghana.
The selected vendor will work with Ghana’s proposed owner-operator for the construction of the power plant, in accordance with Ghana’s specifications and other technical considerations.
The Director-General of the GAEC and Vice-Chair of the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation (GNPPO), Professor Benjamin Jabez Botwe Nyarko, and the Executive Director of Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG), Dr. Stephen Yamoah, told the Daily Graphic in June this year that the search for a vendor was being done with support from the Ministry of Energy.
The search for a vendor is one of the critical milestones in phase two of Ghana’s nuclear power project, as activities of the first phase have been completed and a comprehensive report delivered to the government.
According to NPG, the comprehensive assessment conducted across the country for the most suitable place to site the first nuclear power plant narrowed down to four candidate sites.
In line with basic assessment, seismic equipment was being installed at the sites, while additional required studies were being undertaken by considering a host of factors, including hydrological, meteorological, geotechnical, human-induced factors, among others, it said.
Ghana’s nuclear efforts, which started in the 1960s, have suffered many setbacks, mainly due to public misunderstanding of the sector.
Although power generation is the bigger goal for Ghana’s nuclear energy programme, as set out by the country’s first President, nuclear science and technology is already being applied in many sectors of the Ghanaian economy, including for food safety and preservation and in the health sector.