According to a World Bank Report, Ghana’s annual economic growth continued on a strong path at 6.3 percent in 2018, although at a slower pace than the 8.1 percent in 2017. This trend was led largely by a strong growth in mining, petroleum, agriculture and sustained expansion in forestry and logging.
“Economic growth is expected to be stronger in 2019, but over the medium term a more diversified economy is vital,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Ghana.
As indicated in the earlier Outlooks, the World Bank has established that electricity is one of the most important constraints to business activities in the country. For example, during the 2007 power crisis Ghana lost about 1.8% of GDP.
Although during 2016 Ghana largely overcame problems of irregular electricity supply, the country still suffers from persistent power supply challenges. One of the solutions to this problem can be found in nuclear energy. Nuclear power is a cost-effective and reliable baseload source of electricity. A modern Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) is able to supply uninterrupted power for 60-80 years at a predictable and affordable price, which is not drastically affected by the volatility of the global commodity market.
The Government of Ghana has announced plans to introduce nuclear power into the country’s energy mix. For this purpose, in June 2012, the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Ghana signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy with Russian state-owned energy corporation ROSATOM. Construction of an NPP will take between 10 to 15 years and will provide sustainable source of affordable energy for industrial development and general use.
A nine-member board, known as ‘Nuclear Power Ghana’ has been constituted by government to oversee the full implementation of the National Nuclear Programme. The Volta River Authority, Bui Power Dam and Atomic Energy have been tasked to support the setting up of the structures for a nuclear power plant taking into consideration the timelines outlined by government.
The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission is currently preparing a report on the Nuclear Power Programme and upon presentation to the government, a decision would be taken regarding the financing of the programme, – noted Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation. «The nation has competent and well-trained scientists and functional institutions, including the Nuclear Power Institute, Ghana Atomic Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Authority and School of Allied and Nuclear Sciences that are capable to champion the country’s Nuclear Energy Programme, – he added.
Moreover, Mahamudu Bawumi, Vice President of the country’s cabinet has recently approved the establishment of an organization responsible for the construction and operation of Ghana’s first nuclear power plant.
Ryan Collyer, Deputy Director-General, Rosatom Central and Southern Africa, outlined the significance of nuclear power for the economic development of Ghana, especially in the light of Ghana’s strive to redevelop its aluminum production capability. He pointed out that “Aluminium production requires more electricity than any other industry known to man and nuclear has the highest capacity factor of all the current generating sources, meaning it can power Ghana’s industrialization non-stop 24 hours a day 365 days a year. A diverse energy mix with the inclusion of renewables and nuclear power will contribute immensely to the national economy and will make local business more competitive and attractive on the global market.”
On top of the sustainable energy supply, nuclear technologies have a wide range of applications from environmental issues to production of nuclear medicine. They contribute to social development and sustainable economic growth.
Dr. Robert B. M. Sogbadji, Deputy Director of Nuclear and Alternative Energy at the Ministry of Energy, Coordinator of the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme notes that all industrially developed countries rely on an affordable and sustainable power supply to make their industries profitable and globally competitive. “Ghana should, therefore, opt for the inclusion of Nuclear Energy to diversify our current generation mix. Nuclear not only provides very affordable power for decades to come, but at the same time produces almost no greenhouse emissions and will therefore reduce the detrimental environmental impact of our energy mix ”, he stressed out.