After five years, The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has approved the development of a nuclear generation plant in Ghana, GhanaWEb reported on Wednesday.

Professor Thomas Akabsaa, Chief Director of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (MoEP), said that the agency gave the go ahead earlier this year, and was currently putting strategies in place.

‘We also got their permission to establish a Nuclear Energy Planning and Implementation Organisation (NEPIO) and we have gotten that done. The organisation is at the GAEC and the ministry is coordinating its activities’, he said.

Akabsaa said that the policies and legislation surrounding the development of the nuclear plans will be supported by the Nuclear Regulatory Power Bill, which is awaiting approval by Parliament.

Government plans to develop 700MW of nuclear generation capacity which will bring the total energy mix (hydro and thermal) generation to 1 960MW. Government’s future plans intend to expand the 700MW to 1 000MW.

Should Ghana prove successful with the nuclear initiative, they will become the second nuclear producer on the continent, behind South Africa who has been generating nuclear power commercially since 1984. According to the World Nuclear Association, South Africa currently operates two nuclear reactors which contribute an estimated 5.3% to the total energy mix.

Nuclear producing countries

  • China
  • Bulgaria
  • Japan
  • Britain
  • Saudi Arabia

The exact site location of the plant has not been disclosed however Akabsaa said the ministry has considered the environmental and humanitarian impacts and have selected the best suited area for development.

‘Obviously, the places are all outside populated areas but closer to water. And those contending sites are going to be analysed cost-wise to arrive at the best one’, he said.