The United States and Ghana jointly launched their partnership under the Fundamental Infrastructure Program for Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) on February 25. US Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan; Ghana’s Senior Advisor to the President, Hon. Osafo Marfo Lace; Minister of Energy Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh; the representative of the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation Mr. Kwamena Quayson; the Director General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Professor Samuel Boakye Dampare; Director General of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Dr. Nii Kwashie Allotey; U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretaries Anthony Wier of the State Department’s Office of International Security and Nonproliferation, Aleshia Duncan of the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Power, and Camille Richardson of the Commerce Administration international from the United States Department of Commerce; and the Japanese Deputy Commissioner for International Affairs of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry joined the virtual program to commemorate the partnership and discuss the next steps in civil nuclear cooperation between the United States and Ghana .
The FIRST program, led by the U.S. Department of State, will support Ghana’s adoption of Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technology, including support for stakeholder engagement, advanced technical collaboration, and project evaluation and planning. Japan has been a valued partner of the United States in the FIRST program and will build on its existing partnership with Ghana to advance Ghana’s civil nuclear energy aspirations.
“Clean, reliable and safe nuclear energy can bring significant benefits to Ghana and the people of Ghana – including clean energy, agricultural improvements, clean water, advanced medical treatments, etc. The climate crisis is serious and urgent. Next-generation nuclear power, like what we are working on today, must be part of the solution,” Ambassador Sullivan noted at the event.
According to the Minister of Energy, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Ghana’s decision to include nuclear power in the country’s energy mix led the country to establish Nuclear Power Ghana Limited as the owner-operator and project developer. . This ambitious goal for a newcomer country presents avenues like the FIRST program to further develop the skills of Nuclear Power Ghana Limited to fulfill its mission to build and safely operate Ghana’s first nuclear power plant.
The Senior Advisor to the President said, “We strongly believe that this collaboration/partnership under FIRST will complement the IAEA milestone approach that Ghana has adopted in the development of its nuclear program, as well as strengthen the skills of people to be able to progress to build, operate and regulate technology in a safe, secure and protected manner. »
“Through these capacity building activities, the ministry is confident that Ghana will not only gain key insights, but that the country will be placed in a well-informed position to make an informed decision(s) ahead of phase three of our development program. ‘nuclear energy’, commented the representative of the Ghanaian Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.
Highlighting the interest in supporting the continued development of Ghana’s energy sector, Deputy Assistant Secretary Camille Richardson said, “As the U.S. government works with the government of Ghana to lay a solid foundation for a flourishing civil nuclear energy, American companies are eager to support this. ambition at every stage of the process. They bring decades of experience leading civil nuclear energy innovations, pioneering the development of small modular reactors and working with partners around the world to deploy this safe, clean energy technology. and affordable.
The Director General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission emphasized that “it is the aspiration that this series of capacity building activities will strengthen our National Technical Support Organization (TSO).” The Director General of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority stressed that “for us regulators, our success will be a very strict, logical and transparent licensing regime which emphasizes safety throughout the lifetime of our future power plants, whether SMRs or larger reactors.”
Initial training for Ghanaian partners will take place throughout 2022, focusing on stakeholder engagement, licensing and regulation development, financing, workforce development and security , nuclear safety and non-proliferation.
Building on more than 60 years of U.S. nuclear energy innovation and expertise, FIRST provides capacity-building support to partner nations as they expand their energy programs to support clean energy goals within the highest international standards for nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation. To date, the US State Department has announced $7.3 million to support FIRST projects worldwide. At the Climate Leaders Summit, the Biden-Harris administration highlighted the FIRST program as one of the United States’ key efforts to promote innovation by scaling clean technologies and establishing a unprecedented global cooperation to address the climate crisis.
(With contributions from APO)