US ready to partner Ghana to realise nuclear power aspiration – Anthony Wier

The United States (U.S.) is ready to provide Ghana with the knowledge, training, and expertise to advance its civil nuclear power aspirations, Mr Anthony Wier, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Non-proliferation Policy in the Department of State’s Bureau of International Security and Non-proliferation has said.

He was speaking at the virtual launch of the U.S. -Ghana Foundational Infrastructure for Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) partnership on Friday.

“Through this partnership, we are excited to build on already-established partnerships among the United States, Ghana, and partners like Japan, to provide Ghana with the knowledge, training, and expertise to advance its civil nuclear power aspirations. We hope to establish new relationships among technical expertsto tailor this partnership to the unique needs of Ghana, and will adapt our approach as necessary to ensure Ghana derives as much benefit as possible through the FIRST programme,” Mr Wier stated.

He said FIRST was intended to provide capacity-building support to partner countries as they explore and develop nuclear energy programmes to help achieve their clean energy production goals—and to do so under the highest international standards for nuclear safety, security, and non-proliferation.  

Mr Wier added that the FIRST Programme was launched at the Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22, 2021, by the Biden-Harris administration as one of the United States’ key efforts to promote energy innovation, increase access to reliable power, and build unprecedented global cooperation to confront the climate crisis.

He said the United States went on to announce several FIRST partnerships at COP26, the UN climate conference of parties, in Glasgow last November, shining a spotlight on the value of international collaboration under this programme.

 Mr Wiersaid “FIRST was a capacity-building programme that helps establish secure and safe nuclear energy infrastructure in a manner consistent with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Milestones Approach for implementing a responsible nuclear power programme.”

He said for those countries considering the potential for these small modular and advanced nuclear technologies to meet their future needs, the FIRST programme would help these partners prepare for national-level decision-making that takes into consideration relevant technical, nuclear security and safety, regulatory development and licensing, financial, and other key considerations.

In addition, Mr Wier noted that the FIRST offers a vehicle to strengthen U.S. co-operation with partner countries, such as Ghana, and experts from across the U.S. Government, industry, national laboratories, non-governmental organisations and universities co-operate actively to carry out this programme. 

Through FIRST, he said the United States sought to work collaboratively with partners to address the climate crisis, spur innovation, conserve our environment, build resilience and drive growth for communities in a safe and secured manner. 

For her part, U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie Sanders Sullivan, said United States and Ghana had collaborated on important nuclear safety and security matters for more than a decade – both bilaterally and through the International Atomic Energy Agency. “We’ve built strong relationships between key counterpart agencies and shared expertise between personnel”, she said.  

She continued, “I’m confident that this partnership will be fruitful for Ghanaian and U.S. stakeholders, for the nuclear landscape, and most importantly, to help meet the energy needs of the people and industries of Ghana into the future.  My team and I look forward to working together to implement the highest international safety, security, and non-proliferation standards while being responsible stewards of our planet.”     

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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