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23.04.2007 General News

Bartels says Prez cannot be confused about nuclear

By Nana Kwaku AGYEMAN

Information Minister Kwamena Bartels has in defence of President Kufuor's 'stay clear of nuclear' pronouncement stated that he is only weighing all the recommendations before him in order “to come out with the best decision.”
In an apparent reaction to the lead story in Issue 0055 of the dailyEXPRESS headlined 'Presidential confusion over nuclear power', Mr. Bartels told a press conference in Accra that the President is in no way confused.
He argued that even though proposals for a nuclear power reactor were first made in 1963, no decision has been taken since then.

President Kufuor while on a recent visit to London told some potential British investors and journalists that he his uncomfortable with the talk about nuclear power generation, which had started gaining currency as the country's energy problems worsen.

“Professor Adjei Bekoe has been advocating that Ghana should adopt nuclear energy because it's cheap and peaceful. But at the mere mention of the word nuclear, some of us get nervous and we are tempted to resist him” he said in apparent reference to the work of a Professor Adzei Beloe-led committee in that direction.

Professor Bekoe who chairs the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and is also Council of State Chairman had been mandated by the president to look into the possibilities of nuclear energy.
The president's London comments and as against a Daily Graphic report that cabinet has okayed the decision to go nuclear suggested that there was some controversy at the Castle over the matter.

Mr. Bartels however told journalists that he is optimistic that the project would take off as soon as the recommendations are made for its establishment by the Bekoe Committee.

Energy Minister Joseph Adda also told the press that the committee has not been given any specific time frame within which to work, but said he expect to receive their recommendations as early as possible.

"This is a long term project, which needs to be carefully planned and not done in a rush. In the meantime, Government is still working at solving the energy problem as well as finding solutions to address the short and medium term energy needs of the country."

The celebrated Ghanaian Nuclear Scientist and former head of the GAEC, Professor Francis Allotey who is also a former governor of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has allayed the fears of those scared about the use of nuclear power for energy generation, adding that the international community cannot be afraid of Ghana using nuclear energy to generate electricity.
He advised government to quickly begin the process of establishing nuclear power reactors for energy generation as a long term solution to Ghana's energy problems, adding that for Ghana to become competitive in industrial development, nuclear power must be adopted.