Ghana on Monday received commendation from a 10-Member International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of Experts, for the successes in the progressive development of its nuclear power infrastructure.
The team said they were impressed with the high level of commitment and hard work done by their Ghanaian counterparts, which had culminated in the successes made so far with regard to the near achievement of all the 19 infrastructure issues to be considered in the development of a Nuclear Power Programme (NPP).
The IAEA team of experts, who form the first Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission, have been on an eight-day assignment to review the country’s infrastructure development for a nuclear power programme, and successfully concluded its work in Accra on Monday.
The INIR team concluded that Ghana had made considerable progress in the development of its nuclear power infrastructure, and had established effective mechanisms to involve a wide and comprehensive range of national stakeholders in the relevant activities.
It, however, said although the country had already completed and initiated a significant number of studies, further studies on some key issues remained to be completed in order for the Government to make a knowledgeable decision on an NPP.
The team, therefore, made some recommendations aimed at assisting the country to progress its nuclear infrastructure development.
Mr Anthony Stott, a Senior Nuclear Engineer with the IAEA’s Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section, at the closing ceremony said: “The INIR mission was conducted in a cooperative and open atmosphere. The Ghanaian team was very well prepared for the mission, and managed its participation in the review effectively”.
He explained that the INIR mission reviewed the status of all the 19 nuclear power infrastructure issues, using the IAEA Nuclear Energy Series Technical Report (NG-T-3.2 Rev.1) Evaluation of the Status of National Infrastructure Development.
He said prior to the INIR mission, Ghana had prepared a Self-Evaluation Report covering all the infrastructure issues using this evaluation methodology and submitted the report and 168 supporting documents to the IAEA.
Mr Stott said some of the areas highlighted by the INIR team for further action included the completion of all the studies needed for the government to make a knowledgeable decision on an NPP and the assessment of its legal framework to ensure its adequacy for nuclear power.
They said the preparation for the early second Phase activities, including discussions with vendors and other operational partners must also be carried out.
He said the team also identified strengths in Ghana’s processes such as the establishment of an effective Technical Body by the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation, (GNPPO), which had been given a strong programme management function and mechanisms to involve a wide and comprehensive range of stakeholders.
This, he said, ensured an inclusive process in the studies required for the government to make a knowledgeable decision that would also benefit other countries considering the introduction of nuclear power.
Professor Benjamin Jabez Nyarko, the Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, welcomed the outcome of the INIR mission, saying Ghana was committed to the careful step-by-step development of its nuclear power programme, therefore, the gaps identified by the Mission, would be tackled in earnest to enable the country to make a knowledgeable decision in 2018, as per its roadmap for nuclear power development.
He explained that having been grappling with serious energy crises over the years that severely hampered its economic development, Cabinet in 2008 took a decision to consider a potential role for nuclear power in the country’s energy mix.
Nuclear energy was thus included in the National Energy Policy and Strategy in 2010; and in 2012 established the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation (GNPPO) to coordinate the government activities to prepare to make an informed, long-term commitment to developing a Nuclear Power Programme (NPP).
The INIR Missions, enable IAEA Member-State representatives to have in-depth discussions with international experts about experiences and best practices in different countries, and in developing its recommendations, the INIR team takes into account the comments made by the relevant national organisations.
The implementation of any of the team’s recommendations is at the discretion of the Member State to develop an action plan to fill any gaps, which in turn would help the development of the national nuclear infrastructure.