Nuclear energy said to be futuristic, valid option for economic expansion
The quest for a nuclear power plant is a valid and pragmatic measure towards the country’s anticipated economic expansion, Professor Emeritus Omowumi Iledare, the Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC) Commerce Chair of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), has said.
He said nuclear energy was cost-effective and will provide a bigger power base-load to cater for the enormous energy demand by developing economies such as Ghana.
In view of that, he said the country will need more investors to guarantee industrial expansion to absorb the energy capacity the power plant will deliver.
Professor Emeritus Iledare was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the country’s attempt to venture into nuclear technology for electricity.
Ghana is on a mission to introduce nuclear energy into its energy mix by 2030.
The move is principally targeted at generating ample power to drive its industrialisation agenda and provide affordable electricity to its people.
The country is currently at the second of three phases instituted for the safe commissioning, operationalisation and decommissioning of nuclear power plants.
Professor Iledare applauded the country for being the first in the West African sub-region to chart that course, saying, “Energy is a driver of economic growth and natural gas is not a good baseload.
“Nuclear power is a very good idea. It is futuristic in respect to meeting the current needs,” he said.
Contrary to the fear of explosion and radioactive contamination by many people, he noted that nuclear energy was the cleanest and safest form of energy as it followed scores of stringent layers of safety measures.
“If you look at the deaths so far recorded from nuclear accidents, it is nothing comparable to the deaths from flying airplanes.
“People have reasons to be wailing about the radiation aspect of it, but then we might as well not be driving cars,” he said.
He said there was the need to educate the public to appreciate the safety and benefits of nuclear power to avert public opposition to the noble course.
“People must understand what nuclear energy can do to reduce the cost of energy per unit, thereby giving more money to households to spend on other goods and services.
“The cost per unit of nuclear power is significantly less than the cost per unit of using gas,” he stressed.
Professor Iledare, however, recommended the “optimal energy supply mix strategy” which encompasses all forms of energy sources to avoid overdependence on one source.
“The only thing is when you talk about energy deliverability, affordability is equally important.
“I have always advocated for comparative economic advantage for energy sources where technology could help to make even the use of petroleum cleaner,” he added.