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General News
Govt Considers Nuclear Energy 11/23/2008
The government has set up a committee to explore the possibility of the country adopting nuclear energy in addressing the energy crisis.The committee made up of nuclear energy and environmental protection experts and chaired by Professor David Adzei-Bekoe, chairman of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), is to develop a roadmap for the use of nuclear energy, and advise the government on its implications.Joseph Adda, Minister of Energy, announced at a Meet-the-Press Session in Accra yesterday that the government’s decision on whether to opt for nuclear energy for electricity generation would depend on the recommendations of the committee."Government believes it is an option worth pursuing," he said, adding that the decision to explore nuclear power falls within the scope of the National Energy Policy which states, among other things, that options for energy sources would include the exploration of nuclear energy for the generation of electricity.The committee is yet to be given a time-frame to develop the roadmap, because according to the Minister, the members "are still consulting" to find out what would go into developing such programme of action.He denied media reports that Cabinet has given approval for the use of nuclear energy in the production of electricity in the country.Prof. Adzei-Bekoe, who had earlier addressed the media, said that although the GAEC has strongly advocated the use of nuclear for electricity, the President is "pursuing the subject cautiously," especially because of the controversies surrounding the management of nuclear energy.He said Ghana has the ability to manage a nuclear plant for electricity generation since nuclear power is a proven technology.Prof. Adzei-Bekoe, who is also the Chairman of the Council of State, said that should the government give approval for the operation of a nuclear plant for the country, it would take about eight years to put the infrastructure in place."Nuclear technology is a sophisticated technology which requires a correspondingly sophisticated infrastructure," he said.He explained that although nuclear energy has high capital cost, it produces electricity at a cost which is less than that of thermal plants, and it has the ability to generate high capacity base-load supply.Prof Adzei-Bekoe, said nuclear power stations are perceived as posing the risks of a "Chernobyl type explosion" but said the risks have not stopped many countries which do not have any substantial alternative sources, from going nuclear."He, explained that "the last time a Chernobyl explosion occurred was 25 years ago in Eastern Europe while nuclear waste is effectively being managed in user countries."At present, he said, 16 per cent of the world electricity is generated from some 442 nuclear power plants in 30 countries with many in industrialised countries.There are also 28 new reactors under construction in 11 countries, mainly in Europe.South Africa is the only country in Africa with a nuclear plant, while Nigeria is currently planning to build one.

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