Nuclear Energy, Necessary For Ghana�s Economic Advancement

Researchers and Energy policy advisors are strongly proposing a speed up of Ghana�s nuclear energy programme because it is the surest option to Ghana�s economic development. They said the adoption of nuclear energy into the country's energy mix would help in closing the current electricity supply deficit and eliminate the difficulties being faced by both industrial and domestic users and stabilize the prices of utilities. This, they argued, would ensure a sustainable and reliable electricity supply to boost industrial and domestic production. According to them, the increasing demand for electricity power supply as a result of population increases and industrial expansions, calls for accelerated measures to venture into nuclear power to ensure sustainable economic growth. Dr Robert B. M. Sogbadji, Head of Nuclear, Energy Efficiency and Conservation and Alternate Energy at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum was one of the discussants at a seminar organised on Thursday by Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MEST). The seminar, which was on the theme: �Ensuring Sustainable Energy for Accelerated Economic Growth�, was part of activities to celebrate the African Scientific Renaissance Day and also to brainstorm on sustainable energy options to bail Ghana out of her current energy crisis. Dr Sogbadji said it is important for Ghana to desist from relying fully on Nigeria for fuel and gas supplies, considering the supplier�s current political crisis, therefore the need to strategize to find the money to the development of infrastructure for the expansion of the energy needs. However, accelerating Ghana�s economic development depends largely on adequate supply of reliable electricity and also the effective use of affordable energy and this places nuclear energy, which is cheaper and sustainable to operate, at an advantage over other energy sources. According to him compared to the other sources of energy, such as solar, wind, thermal and hydro, the sustainability of nuclear energy has aided many developed countries in boosting their industrial as well as domestic production and Ghana must not be left out. He dispelled fears associated with nuclear energy production, saying the GAEC has a sound safety record and nuclear security would strictly be observed as usual, as the commission has had the experience of managing its current nuclear energy reactor over the years and effectively utilizing it for medical, agricultural, industrial and other uses over the years. He said despite the challenges that come with any technological advancement, there are great strides and enormous development impact to a society and in this regard, some countries have exceedingly profited and socially benefited from the production of Nuclear power to propel industries and make life easier in their domestic homes. Currently, there are about 72 new reactors under construction globally even after the unfortunate incident at the Fukushima Plant, indicating the importance of nuclear energy in accelerating growth. Dr Mawunyo Dzobo, who is in-charge of Energy Commission, said the choice of fuels supply for long-term electricity generation is expected to play a critical role in future sustainability of utilities and the economy, ensuring a well-balanced and diversified fuel supply mix is required and ensure a more diversified electricity generation in the country. It would also eliminate the high dependency on fossil fuels to meet future energy needs and impact.