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30.01.2008 General News

Second nuclear study begins

By The Statesman
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A committee established to undertake feasibility studies on the use of nuclear energy in Ghana has began a second study to identify a possible site for the building of a nuclear plant, few months after submitting its first report to the President.

The committee, headed by Daniel Adzei Bekoe is geared towards identifying a site for the construction of the project with great emphasis on some basic factors such as the population of the area, availability of enough water to cool the system and whether the site will not be prone to earth quake, Ofosu Ahenkorah, acting executive secretary of the Energy Commission announced.

He said the committee has not been able to choose a site yet since a nuclear programme of that sort needed time to execute. "Presently, the chairman of the committee is in the United States to do some negotiations with the US Department of Nuclear Energy in relation to the country's nuclear project , and has been fruitful so far" ,he stated

According to Mr. Ahenkorah, building a nuclear plant the size of the Bui Hydro Electric Dam which is currently under construction would amount to the same cost.

In terms of expertise to manage the sophisticated plant when developed, he said the school of Nuclear and Allied Sciences established through the collaboration of the University of Ghana and the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission could be used to support the requirements for capacity building,

Further, he said most Ghanaians were also working with various nuclear Departments and could be brought in to manage the system.

Mr. Ahenkorah said the commission was waiting for the first report to be endorsed by President Kufuor and believed that if adequate funds are made available in the short term the project could take- off soon.

According to him Ghana would have to sign close to ten nuclear agreements with responsible world nuclear energy bodies before it could start operation. He believed that can be achieved since everything is being done through protocol.

It is recalled that in the heat of the energy crisis two years ago, President Kufuor set up the committee to look into the possibility of adopting nuclear power to generate electricity in the country.

Decision to acquire nuclear power technology has been regarded as a natural progression in the country's technological advancement. The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission has already established some basic structures relevant to a nuclear power programme. It has for the past 12 years been operating a 12 megawatt power plant to test non destructive elements on medicine Agriculture and other scientific systems.

Lots of concerns have, been expressed about the dangers of nuclear energy especially, the radioactivity of its waste. However, some nuclear experts and environmentalists have regarded it as the cleanest energy that Ghana can use.

By Adu Koranteng

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