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Ghana to Select Partner for First Nuclear Power Plant by December

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louis Buyisiwe

May 21, 2024

French, Russian, Chinese Firms Among Final Contenders for Landmark Project

Ghana to select a partner for its first nuclear power plant by December, with contenders including France's EDF, U.S.-based NuScale Power, China National Nuclear Corporation, South Korea’s Kepco, and Russia’s ROSATOM
Symbolic image of Nuclear power plant under construction

Accra, Ghana — Ghana is set to choose a company by December to construct its first nuclear power plant, with contenders including France's EDF, U.S.-based NuScale Power and Regnum Technology Group, and China National Nuclear Corporation. Robert Sogbadji, the deputy director for power in charge of nuclear and alternative energy at Ghana’s energy ministry, disclosed this on Monday.

Additional competitors for the contract, expected to span the next decade, include South Korea’s Kepco and its subsidiary Korea Hydro Nuclear Power Corporation, and Russia’s ROSATOM. Sogbadji stated, "Cabinet will approve the final choice. It can be one vendor or two nations; it will depend on the financial model and the technical details."

Historical Context and Current Goals

Ghana initially considered building a nuclear power plant in the 1960s, but the project was halted by a coup. The plan was revived in 2006 with assistance from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) following a severe power crisis.

Out of 16 countries and companies that responded to Ghana’s request for vendors, a technical team from state agencies led by the energy ministry narrowed it down to the current five contenders. Ghana aims to integrate approximately 1,000 megawatts (MW) of nuclear power into its energy mix by 2034.

Regional Nuclear Developments

Across Africa, several countries are exploring nuclear power to address electricity supply gaps. Over 600 million people on the continent lack access to electricity. Burkina Faso and Uganda have agreements with Russia and China to build their first nuclear power plants. Kenya, Morocco, and Namibia are also pursuing nuclear energy projects. South Africa, which operates Africa's only existing nuclear plant, plans to add 2,500 MW of nuclear power to combat its severe power shortages.

Ghana’s Energy Ambitions

Ghana currently has an installed capacity of 5,454 MW, with 4,483 MW available. The country, a notable exporter of oil, cocoa, and gold, expects nuclear power to become its base load, facilitating quicker industrialization and increasing energy exports to neighboring countries like Benin, Ivory Coast, and Togo through the West Africa Power Pool.

The government has already secured a site capable of accommodating up to five reactors. Sogbadji indicated that Ghana prefers a "build, own, operate and transfer" arrangement that allows for local equity participation.

Ghana’s decision to adopt nuclear power is a strategic move aimed at enhancing its energy security and boosting industrial growth. The final decision on the vendor, influenced by financial and technical considerations, will be pivotal in shaping the country's energy future.

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