Monday, April 08, 2013

The Nuclear View from Accra


This one flew in under the radar:
Minister for Energy and Petroleum Emmanuel Kofi Buah, says Ghana is committed to considering nuclear energy as a viable option in power generation.
He said the Ministry is putting the necessary measures in place to ensure the realization of that great goal.
According to him, the increasing demand for power in the country called for accelerated measures to venture into nuclear power, adding that the time has come for critical consideration of this option.
The author here seems to jumping straight from considering to implementing, which still seems a way off. Still, the reason Ghana is looking into nuclear energy is very easy to understand.
The IAEA Africa Head pledged his support for Ghana in its quest to venture into that area, saying that if the country is to achieve higher middle income status, then there is the need for cheap and clean energy to power its developing industries.
That’s about right. Although I didn’t find much discussion of limiting carbon emissions as a goal, it’s something that Ghana has been exceptionally good at up to now.
Currently only 72% of the country's population has access to mains electricity, two-thirds of which is currently generated by hydro-electric plants.
A full-scale nuclear power facility is felt likely to not only electrify the parts of Ghana needing it, but to provide an exportable item to its west African neighbors. In several different ways, it could be an engine of prosperity for the country.
---
Maybe one hesitates at the idea of any African country having access to nuclear energy (South Africa has two reactors, just to cross that t). it can be a pretty fractious place, with many countries barely able to stand themselves up before coup time arrives. That does not describe Ghana, though. It has a fairly stable government and, according to Foreign Policy’s Failed State Index, it scores better than any other country on the continent aside from South Africa and Botswana.
BBC’s roundup of countries puts it this way:
A well-administered country by regional standards, Ghana is often seen as a model for political and economic reform in Africa.
Ghana is already operating an experimental reactor, so, although It may take a little longer than Buah anticipates, commercial operation may be a question of when not if. Should that be so, welcome to the club, Ghana.

1 comment:

SteveK9 said...

I'll make a prediction. 10 years from now China will have standardized nuclear reactors on one or maybe two designs. They will have built out their supply chain and lowered costs dramatically. And, then they will begin a major export/investment program. That is where the third world is likely to get most of its development in terms of power generation. It's a good thing for the world, if you care about the environment.

We simply don't have the need for growth in power generation in the US for this sort of program. Also, we are currently infatuated with methane ... although that will not last for many more years as prices start to reflect costs of 'fracked' gas.