Gov’t invites nuclear power vendor proposals

Ghana has made steady progress towards its nuclear energy generation as it has begun inviting proposals from potential vendor partners or countries interested in building the country’s first nuclear power plant.

The Deputy Director of Renewable Energy at the Ministry of Energy, Ing Seth Agbeve Mahu who revealed this to the B&FT said that the nation is carefully going by all the necessary and require protocols for the establishment of the nuclear power plant to ensure informed decisions are taken. A vendor partner would be the country Ghana will approve to build the first nuclear plant on its soil.

“Choosing a vendor is very important, it is critical, it is delicate. It has its own implications and for that matter, we are trying to be very fair and by so doing, we have sent out invitations to a few countries that we have already identified or who have expressed interest like Russia, South Korea, China, USA and India,” Ing. Mahu said.

He added that: “We have issued a request for information notice to all these countries at the highest levels; at governmental level, inter-governmental levels and we expect that the information that we will need to take a decision on both technology and financing of the project, they will be fair and provide us with that and based on that, we will be able to access and see which of these offers will bring a mutual benefit to Ghana and whoever the vendor is going to be.

At this point we have not selected anything. We are still in that process. I believe strongly that once they respond favourably to our request for information and we do the assessment, we are able to settle on one or two that we can begin to engage in a more detailed conversation.”

He said the country is in no rush to make a decision as it wants to establish a plant that would be meaningful and afford the state the opportunity to drive electricity charges down considerably.

He further noted that, with all the international obligations that need to be satisfied at the International Atomic Energy Agency, the country is looking at the long term to manifest the building of its nuclear power plant.

Nuclear financing

Nuclear financing is huge and companies that are planning new nuclear units are currently indicating that the total costs (including escalation and financing costs) will be in the range of US$5,500/kW to US$8,100/kW or between US$6billion and US$9billion for each 1,100 MW plant.

Executive Director of Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG), Dr. Steven Amoah, in an interview with the B&FT said nuclear is a long-term project; that is why Ghana is taking its time to make the decision.

“The nation is also aware of the energy needs that will be needed to propel the One District, One Factory (1D1F), bauxite going through Valco and Aluworks to produce aluminium plates for the assembling of cars and electronic railways; and the other major infrastructure that will need energy to sustain it.