A group of Ghanaian nuclear experts have embarked on a study tour in the United States, marking a significant milestone in Ghana’s nuclear energy aspirations.
This delegation of scientists, industrialists, and regulators is participating in the FIRST (Foundational Infrastructure for Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology) study tour, a vital initiative originating from US President Joe Biden’s 2021 Leaders’ Summit on Climate.
The programme aims to support partner countries, including Ghana and Kenya, in establishing nuclear power programmes under the highest international standards of security, safety, and non-proliferation.
FIRST, a multiagency U.S. government initiative, provides capacity building support to enable partner countries to adopt small modular reactor (SMR) or other advanced reactor technologies in their sustainable energy plans.
The programme objectives include leveraging next-generation nuclear innovations, meeting clean and reliable energy goals, protecting the global climate, and fostering collaborations between governments, industries, national laboratories, and universities.
The focus of FIRST is to assist countries in realising the potential of SMRs and advanced reactors to meet their clean energy needs while offering several advantages. These include lower costs, scalability to meet varying grid sizes, siting flexibility with a small footprint, the ability to integrate with other clean energy sources like wind and solar power, and diverse applications such as desalination, industrial processes, district heating, and hydrogen production.
Representing Ghana on this study tour are prominent figures from the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, the Ministry of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, the Volta River Authority, and the Association of Ghana Industries.
The Ghanaian delegation includes Dr. Robert Bright Sogbadji, Deputy Director of Power at the Ministry of Energy; Prof. Seth Kofi Debrah, Director at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission; Dr. Stephen Yamoah, Executive Director of Nuclear Power Ghana; Dr. Archibold Buah-Kwofie, Deputy Director of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission; Dr. Nii-Kwashie Allotey, Director General of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority; Dr. Rex Gyeabour Abrefah; Mr. Edward Ekow Obeng-Kenzo, Deputy Chief Executive of the Volta River Authority; President of the Ghana Association of Industries(AGI) Dr. Humphrey Ayim Dake and Mr. George Kofi Appiah.
During the study tour, these esteemed industry leaders will engage in knowledge exchange, learning from their counterparts in the United States. The itinerary includes visits to two of the seventeen (17) national laboratories in the U.S., namely the Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho and the Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The delegation will also tour the North Anna Nuclear Generating Station in Virginia, gaining insights into advanced reactor technologies and best practices in the nuclear industry.
Ghana and Kenya were selected for this significant engagement due to their shared urgency in developing the next nuclear power plants on the African continent.
As both countries race against time, this study tour serves as a crucial opportunity to acquire expertise, foster collaboration, and enhance their capabilities in nuclear energy deployment.
By actively participating in initiatives like FIRST and leveraging international partnerships, Ghana and Kenya demonstrate their commitment to adopting advanced nuclear technologies responsibly.
The knowledge gained from this study tour will not only contribute to their respective nuclear power programmes but also pave the way for a cleaner and more sustainable energy future in Africa.
Source: My Joy Online