The Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Professor Benjamin Nyarko, has advocated the harnessing of the potential of nuclear energy to spur the country’s developmental agenda.
He noted that nuclear applications hold key to achieving nine out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to Prof. Nyarko, the goals are energy, SDG-7; health, SDG-3; agriculture, SDG-2; water management, SDG-6; climate action, SDG-13; industry, innovation and infrastructure, SDG-9; decent work and economic growth, SDG-8; no poverty, SDG-1; education, SDG-4 and ecosystems, SDG-14 and 15.
Prof. Nyarko, who is also the Vice President of Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation (GNPPO), was speaking at an engagement with some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on SDG eight and nine, organised by the Nuclear Power Institute of GAEC and GNPPO, in Accra, yesterday.
The engagement was to inform the CSOs and relevant stakeholders on the benefits of nuclear power to national development as well as allay their fears about the safety of the energy option being pursued by the government.
According to Prof. Nyarko, nuclear applications continued to contribute to meeting the developmental objectives of many countries in areas such as power production, human health, food production, water management, and environmental protection.
“The sun produces energy through fusion and the fundamental energy God created is from nuclear reaction, so I don’t think anybody should be afraid of nuclear energy,” he said.
Prof. Nyarko explained that SDG eight and nine were interdependent and that without industrialisation there would be no economic development.
“Industries drive the economy of every nation and for industries to thrive, energy will be required, and not just any form of energy but a dense, stable, clean and affordable energy and that is where nuclear energy comes in.
“We are not saying other energy sources should be abandoned. What we are saying is that it should be an addition to Ghana’s energy mix just as South Korea and other developed countries have done and are enjoying the benefits,” he said.
The Director of Nuclear Power Ghana, Dr Stephen Yamoah, said the nuclear project and programme, were to propel industrial growth and improve on technology and services.
Citing the South Korea’s industrial transformation of which nuclear energy played a key role, he said “Today they are not just an economic giant, they are selling nuclear technologies and nuclear power plants to other countries.
“Nuclear energy is a very interesting technology that as a country we must take very seriously to help transform our country”.
A representative of CSOs platforms on SDGs in Ghana, Mr Kwadwo Owusu, said: “If we make good strides in the generation of energy, I think almost all the SDGs stand to benefit.”
BY JONATHAN DONKOR