The Speaker of Parliament, Alban S. K. Bagbin has called for reliable and sustainable funding for Ghana’s Nuclear Energy Programme.
He said for a viable programme such as the Nuclear Energy Programme to achieve the intended purpose, serious attention must be given to financial challenges.
The Speaker made the call at a meeting with the Board of Directors of the Nuclear Power Ghana led by its chairman, Prof. Benjamin J. B. Nyarko when they called on him in parliament on last week.
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The Board was in parliament to brief the Speaker on the progress made on the programme as well as explore ways to ensure the successful implementation of Ghana’s only nuclear energy programme.
Prof. Nyarko emphasized the long-term benefits of the programme to Ghana’s industrialization drive, including reducing, considerably the cost of power for industrial use.
He however expressed worry about the current limited staff, the lack of agency coordination, and low nationwide information, communication and education initiatives which he said were some of the challenges inhibiting the smooth operation of the programme.
‘Nuclear implementation demands competences in specific areas of specialization. Unfortunately, employment across the key institutions have been limited. Currently, the NPG draws staff from the Volta River Authority (VRA), Bui Power Authority (BPA) and the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) and have a staff strength of about 20’- Prof. Nyarko noted.
The Speaker pledged the support of parliament towards the overall success of the programme and called for immediate steps to be taken to protect lands allocated for the programme from being encroached by others.
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Ghana’s effort to exploit the peaceful applications (including power generation) of nuclear science and technology dates to the early 1960s when the first President decided to undertake the Ghana Nuclear reactor Project (GNRP) by establishing the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission.
Unfortunately, the nuclear ambition was truncated due to political instability until in 2007 when the government established a Nuclear Power Committee to explore the feasibility of using nuclear energy to meet the country’s growing energy needs. The program has since gained momentum, and Ghana is now on track to become the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to operate a nuclear power plant.