IAEA commends Ghana for meeting nuclear targets

IAEA Exoerts PixThe International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has commended Ghana for meeting specific targets set for the first phase of its nuclear power infrastructure programme.
The first phase involves 19 thematic areas, including national position, nuclear safety, and management, funding and financing, legislative and regulatory framework, radiation, protection, electrical grid and human resource development.
Others are stakeholders’ involvement, site and supporting facilities, environmental protection, emergency planning, security and physical protection, nuclear fuel cycle, radioactive waste industrial involvement and procurement.
The 10-man IAEA experts had been in the country for the past eight days to review the infrastructure development for the nuclear power programme in order to advice on identified gabs before the take-off of the programme.
The Senior Nuclear Engineer of the IAEA, Anthony Stott who led the Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission said Ghana had made considerable progress in the development of its nuclear power, adding that, effective mechanisms had also been established to involved wide and comprehensive range of national stakeholders in the relevant activities.
The team leader indicated that the setting up of the nuclear programme management centre at an early stage was to develop an understanding of the management systems in order to support key organisations involved in knowledgeable decision making on the programme.
Mr. Stott noted that the establishment of several working groups of relevant stakeholders would ensure that environmental protection criteria were comprehensive for detailed protection mechanism.
He said the progress of the country was worthy of emulation by other countries as a model drive for excellence.
He said though significant number of studies had been done, key issues remained to be completed in order for the government to be able to make knowledgeable decisions on a nuclear power programme especially, finalising on a number of studies.
“This include updates of the country’s national energy planning projections, analysis of the feasibility of incorporating a nuclear power programme into the West African electrical grid, identification of candidate sites and the availability appropriate resources to complete all remaining activities,” he said.
Mr. Stott stated that the country needed to continue assessing the adequacy of its national legal framework as well as finalise the existing environmental protection framework.
He urged the country to start preparing for early phase two activities, which included discussions with vendors and other potential partners.
Dr. Kwaku Aning, a member of the IAEA Board of Governors said Ghana’s quest to develop a nuclear power programme would enable the country produce cheap and environmentally free energy.
He urged for more public education to adequately prepare the citizens for the project in order for them to ask pertinent questions bothering on nuclear power production.
The Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Professor Benjamin J.B. Nyarko commended the government and the sponsors for supporting the Commission to embark on this transformational agenda, and urged all stakeholders to get on board for the realisation of the country’s dream.

By Lawrence Vomafa-Akpalu

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