Nuclear proving itself as the best source of energy for Ghana 

A GNA Feature by Eunice Hilda A. Mensah 

Accra, June 03, GNA-To grow and industrialize, Ghana as a country needs a stable, cheaper, and reliable energy generation mix to get all of its sectors and industries on their toes. 

The Genesis 

Ghana’s power supply sources are from hydroelectricity, thermal fueled by crude oil, natural gas and diesel, solar and imports from La Cote D’Ivoire, according to the Ministry of Energy. 

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Energy and Office of Nuclear Energy has stated that Nuclear has the highest capacity factor with 92.5 per cent. 

The rest- Geothermal has 74.3 per cent, Natural gas, 56.6 per cent, Hydropower, 41.5 per cent,  coal 40.2 per cent, wind, 35.4 per cent and solar 24.9 per cent. 

This means Nuclear power plants are producing maximum power more than 92 per cent of the time during the year. 

That’s about nearly two times more than natural gas and coal units and almost three times more reliable than wind and solar plants. 

Why Nuclear? 

Nuclear power plants are also typically used more often because they require less maintenance and are designed to operate for longer stretches before refuelling at their facilities. 

Mr  Wisdom Ahiataku-Togobo, a Mathematical Physicist and Director of Renewable Energy at Bui Power Authority, says although dependence on variable renewable sources such as solar, wind or tidal electricity was sustainable, they were intermittent and therefore could not support industrialization without first having adequate baseload power. 

Making the remark at an engagement with the media organised by the Nuclear Power Ghana, Voltage River Authority and Ghana Journalists Association in Accra he added, “Show me a country with at least one nuclear power plant and I will show evidence that the country is industrialized. South Africa is the only industrializing country in Africa,” he said. 

Mr Ahiataku-Togobo said if Ghana wanted to industrialize in an energy-secured setting, then her citizens should start embracing Nuclear energy, as it is generated with minimal greenhouse gas emissions contributing to efforts to combat climate change.   

Nuclear plants could operate continuously, providing a steady base load of electricity, complimenting intermittent renewable resources like solar and wind, he noted. 

Job creation? 

The establishment of the nuclear power industry, he said, would create jobs and stimulate economic growth through infrastructure development and the growth of related industries. 

Safety and Security  

Mr Ahiataku-Togobo said Nuclear Power had a key role to play in Ghana’s Energy Transition to Net Zero emission, however, the concern is the nuclear safety and public fear. 

The Situation, he said, was similar to air travel as against road travel. 

“Nuclear Power is very safe and has the lowest mortality death rate in any of the power plants in the world.  

Indeed, the three major nuclear accidents recorded so far have forced the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to put in place strict regulatory measures to minimize future Nuclear accidents.   

According to the IAEA, Nuclear energy was the second safest source of energy in the world and nuclear waste was carefully managed and regulated. 

 IAEA Director General Mariano Grossi in his recent op-ed for the World Economic Forum in Davos, said: “Nuclear is one of the safest, cleanest, least environmentally burdensome and ultimately, over the lifetime of a nuclear power plant, one of the cheapest sources of energy available.” 


These benefits are being increasingly recognised by environmental activists and world leaders. For example, at COP28 in Dubai, leaders from 22 countries signed a declaration to triple global nuclear energy capacity by 2050 to meet climate goals and energy needs. 

The World Nuclear Association states that from the outset, there has been a strong awareness of the potential hazard of both nuclear criticality and the release of radioactive materials from generating electricity with nuclear power.  

As in other industries, it says the design and operation of nuclear power plants aim to minimise the likelihood of accidents and avoid major human consequences when they occur.  

“There have been two major reactor accidents in the history of civil nuclear power – Chornobyl and Fukushima Daiichi. Chornobyl involved an intense fire without provision for containment, and Fukushima Daiichi severely tested the containment, allowing some release of radioactivity.  

“These are the only major accidents to have occurred in over 18,500 cumulative reactor years of commercial nuclear power operation in 36 countries.” 

It noted that the evidence over six decades showed that nuclear power was a safe means of generating electricity.  

The risk of accidents in nuclear power plants is low and declining and the consequences of an accident or terrorist attack are minimal compared with other commonly accepted risks.  

Radiological effects on people of any radioactive releases can be avoided, it says. 

Comparisons and statistics 

Many occupational accident statistics have been generated over the last 40 years of nuclear reactor operations in the US and UK, the World Nuclear Association states. 

“These can be compared with those from coal-fired power generation. All show that nuclear is a distinctly safer way to produce electricity.” 

It explains that Coal-fired power generation has chronic, rather than acute, safety implications for public health.  

It also has profound safety implications for the mining of coal, with hundreds of workers killed each year in coal mines. 

Hydropower generation has a record of few, but major events causing thousands of deaths. 

“In 1975 when the Banqiao, Shimantan & other dams collapsed in Henan, China, at least 30,000 people were killed immediately and some 230,000 overall were lost.  

“In 1979 and 1980 in India, some 3500 were killed by two hydro-electric dam failures, and in 2009 in Russia, 75 were killed by a hydro power plant turbine disintegration.  

Early in 2017, nearly 200,000 people were evacuated due to the potential failure of the Oroville Dam in California,” it said. 

A major reason for coal’s unfavourable showing is the huge amount which must be mined and transported to supply even a single large power station, it states, adding that mining and multiple handling of so much material of any kind involves hazards. 

Cost involved  

Dr Stephen Yamoah, the Executive Director of Nuclear Power Ghana, says although Nuclear Power plants are expensive to build, they are cheaper to run as compared to other plants. 

The IAEA also stated that nuclear electricity production costs were less sensitive to changes in fuel prices than electricity from oil and gas. 

When compared with other sources of electricity from cradle to grave, it says nuclear energy has the lowest carbon footprint, uses fewer materials and takes up less land.  

“For example, solar power needs more than 17 times as much material and 46 times as much land to produce one unit of energy,” it added. 

The World Economic Forum  

The World Economic Forum states that Nuclear energy is an extraordinary asset whose full potential all need to untap if they are to keep climate change in check. 

“The narrative that puts nuclear against wind and solar is wrong. It is time for the truth to get through, for leaders to pull the necessary levers and help make the global climate goals achievable,” it added.