Ghana Atomic Energy Commission engages stakeholders on nuclear power programme

Atomic EnergyThe Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), has organised a three-day stakeholder involvement and nuclear power communication workshop.

It formed part of a global requirement prior to the establishment of a Nuclear Power Plant.

Key energy sector players including the GRiDCo and the Volta River Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency as well as the media, were part of the workshop.

Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were also in town to serve as facilitators and to share their country experiences on the best practices and successes in regard to their Nuclear Power Programmes (NPP).

Professor Benjamin J.B Nyarko, Director General of GAEC, said stakeholder involvement and communication were among the preparatory processes of a NPP, to ensure better understanding of the various stages of implementation.

He said it was also critical to get the full support of stakeholders throughout the process, by educating them on why the country need to opt for a NPP, processes involved in achieving such an objective, sacrifices to be made and the ultimate benefits to be derived from the project.

He said this would promote trust in the programme, good governance, expand education about technology, as well as ensure transparency and openness in the NPP agenda.

According to Prof Nyarko effective communication and building up the strong knowledge base and skills of stakeholders, would help in erasing all misconceptions, doubts and prevent strict oppositions.

The workshop provided the platform for the participants to share their concerns and also learn more about some international best practices from operating and newcomer countries regarding planning, the review of existing national strategies, and the implementation of stakeholder involvement activities.

Ghana, he said had so far ratified the necessary international conventions regarding the operation of a NPP, and had also passed the Nuclear Regulatory Act, which established the Nuclear Regulatory Authority and the Nuclear Power Institute (NPI).

He acknowledged the assistance of the IAEA towards these achievements saying, “we have been able to come this far with assistance and advice of the IAEA”.

Prof Narko applauded the stakeholders Unit under the NPI, for working assiduously towards maintaining a strong relationship with stakeholders, sustaining media attention and also addressing public opinions and needs so as to create an understanding and to stimulate the needed support for the introduction of nuclear power into the energy mix.

He said once the site is identified, construction of the plant may take at least three to five year to complete, and urged stakeholders to lend their full support to help resolve the current energy crisis through the introduction of nuclear power.

Ms Tiina Tigerstedt, an International Atomic Energy Agency Expert, expressed her satisfaction about Ghana’s progress so far in ensuring that the necessary requirements are met before the take-off of the actual construction of the plant.

She reiterated the need to ensure high competency and skills of the organisations and individuals involved in the communication of NPP issues in order to prevent misrepresentation and miscommunication.

Source: GNA

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