Even though there have been a lot of calls for Ghana to switch to renewable energy, not everybody thinks it’s the way to go for the country’s industrialisation agenda.
Acting Director of the Nuclear Power Institute at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Dr Seth Kofi Debrah, is one of such people.
He says renewable energy cannot provide the needed energy to power the manufacturing sector.
He argued that the variables involved in renewable energy make it not a viable option for sectors that need constant supply of energy.
Speaking to Citi Business News on the sidelines of a workshop organized by the Ghana Journalists’ Association in conjunction with Nuclear Power Ghana on nuclear energy, Dr Debrah indicated that Ghana has to rather focus on an effective energy mix.
He stated that, “We should be focusing on an effective energy mix or a very good energy mix. I’m not saying we should forget about whatever we are doing and go nuclear, no. That’s not what we are saying. We are saying that see nuclear as a viable option such that you will include it in the things that we are doing and things that we are building. So, solar will be there, wind will be there, you will have the thermals, the hydros, mini hydros but also focus on an energy source that is dense, that has high capacity factor, high availability factor, so that you can actually power your industries”.
Presently, there are no nuclear power plants in Ghana even though the first President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, created the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission in 1963 and initiated the plans for the Ghana Nuclear Reactor Project (GNRP) on November 25, 1964.
Despite electricity generation being one of the key factors that contribute to the development of the Ghanaian national economy, plans for a nuclear power plant have fallen through repeatedly.
The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission plans to begin building a power plant in Ghana in 2018 with estimated completion in eight years.
The government of Ghana has demonstrated some committed to the development of nuclear power as an environmentally-friendly energy source, and as of 2020 is undertaking preparatory steps for nuclear energy generation.
Nuclear energy is reported to be a very efficient energy option as it is one of the most low-carbon energy sources.
It also has one of the smallest carbon footprints and is one of the answers to the energy gap.
It is essential to our response to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions and is reliable and cost-effective.
In as much as this energy option has its advantages, its downsides can not be overlooked.
- Waste from plants is radioactive and safe disposal is very difficult and expensive
- Local thermal pollution from wastewater affects marine life
- Large-scale accidents can be catastrophic
- Public perception of nuclear power is negative
- Cost of building and safely decommissioning is very high
- Cannot react quickly to changes in electricity demand