The Board Chairman of Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG), Prof. Benjamin Nyarko, has said that adding nuclear power to the nation’s energy mix will push down cost of production, thereby leading to lower cost of goods and services.
He said locally produced goods are usually expensive due to the high cost of power, as producers will always pass on the cost to the final consumer – hence the need to take nuclear power seriously as it generates power cheaper than current energy sources the country is using.
He added that the socio-economic benefits associated with adding nuclear power to the nation’s energy mix are enormous, as inflation can be monitored and kept stable for a long time.
Prof. Nyarko, who doubles as the Director General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), bemoaned the country’s high dependency on imported goods due to high cost of energy – which leads to high cost of local goods.
He also noted that the nuclear energy industry is an engine for job creation, as the operation of a 1,000 megawatt power plant will create employment for about 1,000 people.
The media training
The programme is dubbed Strengthening and Sustaining Public Trust through Accountable Reporting, and comes on the back of an agreement between Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG) and Ghana News Agency (GNA) to enhance knowledge-sharing and widen information reach on Ghana’s efforts to include nuclear power as an alternative baseload in its generation mix.
The programme also aimed at providing journalists with the relevant knowledge required to effectively lead discussions on nuclear energy as well as allay public fears about safety of the energy source.
Executive Director of NPG, Dr. Stephen Yamoah, explained that in achieving public trust and acceptance for the project, the media’s understanding of issues and subjects on nuclear energy is central in disseminating appropriate and relevant information to Ghanaians.
“Accurate and reliable communication on sensitive issues in a technical and specialised field is significant and essential, and this underscores the importance of specialised energy reporting – which should be a major component of your unique role as information managers,” he said.
He added that: “There are always varying degrees of public skepticism, and this scepticism is based on several factors: including lack of understanding and knowledge about the availability and potential consequences of different energy options; lack of trust in government and institutions; distaste for technology in general; fear of anything nuclear; and the spectre of nuclear accident (e.g. Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Fukushima)”.
However, Dr. Yamoah said the development of nuclear power plant technology has advanced, with new generations of nuclear reactors that are safer and less risky.
He assured that the NPG will ensure that the needed social licence for the project is secured, adding that his outfit will uphold the principles of safety, transparency, integrity and accountability as the first owner and operator of Ghana’s proposed nuclear plant.