Ghanaian News

Russia’s floating nuclear power plant , the best choice for Ghana

In late 2010s, Ghana was frequently referred to as “the world’s fastest growing economy.” The country’s economic progress is usually described as nothing short of a miracle.

As with any economy, a reliable energy system is the foundation and the most important condition of success.

One needs an ever-increasing amount of electricity to support the growth of economy, while at the same time such growth puts constant pressure on the country to invest in the expansion of the energy system.

The Ghanaian energy mix is roughly half hydropower and half fossil fuels, which is probably not the most reliable combination in the long run.

Ghana has limited oil and gas reserves. As of 2018, the country’s proven oil reserves amount to 0.1 billion barrels, less than 0.1% of global reserves.

Natural gas reserves are estimated at 4.1 trillion cubic feet, which is also a fairly modest figure. Given limited national reserves Ghana mainly imports oil and gas from other countries. Domestic production covers only a small part of the country’s energy needs.

Ghana mainly imports oil from Nigeria, Angola and other African countries.

Can an energy system dependent on energy imports be considered truly reliable given constant volatility on the energy markets? Probably not.

If one cannot predict energy prices for the next couple of years, then one cannot reliably plan national economic development. Reliable energy sector is the prerequisite for stability of the entire economy.

Hydropower, the other half of the Ghanian energy system, also comes with its own set of limitations and disadvantages.

Maintenance is quite costly, accidents can turn into disasters but most importantly power generation only happens when there is enough water, which is increasingly not the case with less precipitation each year.

On top of that, both fossil fuel-based energy generation and hydropower are not environmentally friendly.

How can a country like Ghana maintain its economic growth for the generations to come? Among other equally important things, it should diversify its energy mix in order to make it truly reliable and sustainable.

In the long run fossil fuels as a source of base load power can and should be squeezed out by nuclear power, which is a low carbon source of abundant energy.

Base load energy refers to the constant and uninterrupted supply of electricity needed to meet the minimum level of demand throughout the day, regardless of fluctuations in consumption.

The Ghanian government realises the benefits of nuclear power and seeks to launch the first plant in the country by 2030.

When it comes to nuclear energy vendors, Russia is essentially in the market of one since no one comes close in nuclear technology exports.

Again, the Ghanian authorities are aware of the Russian nuclear market dominance and held a meeting with the First Deputy Director General for Development and International Business of Rosatom on the sidelines of the Africa Energy Week in October.

Large reactors, fast reactors, advanced fuels, nuclear waste reprocessing, small modular reactors – Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom has been doing it successfully for a while.

For example, in Africa, Rosatom is constructing a 4000-megawatt El-Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant, which is enough to power a city of 10 million people.

For a country with a long coastline like Ghana, a floating nuclear power plant can also be a solution. Unlike other nuclear companies promising to deliver their floating nuclear power plants at a certain point in the future, Rosatom has been operating its floating power plant since late 2019.

The Akademik Lomonosov project has served as a valuable testament to Rosatom’s technical capabilities and commitment to delivering sustainable and efficient energy solutions.

The invaluable experience garnered from the project has laid a solid foundation for future advancements in floating nuclear power technology.

A unique advantage of Rosatom’s optimized floating nuclear power plants lies in their mobility, enabling power generation to be strategically located along the coastline, close to the major ports and easily increased as more power is required.

This breakthrough innovation now presents the opportunity to efficiently wheel power from the nearest port to the end user, minimising transmission losses and enhancing the reliability of electricity supply to this highly industrialised and populous region.

A floating nuclear plant will not only provide clean power but also affordable base load power, which is essential for supporting industries such as mining, manufacturing, and agriculture, which rely heavily on a consistent and uninterrupted power supply to operate their machinery, processes, and operations efficiently.

In turn, availability of base load energy is crucial for attracting foreign investments and promoting economic development.

Investors seek a reliable energy infrastructure to establish and expand their operations. A consistent supply of base load energy ensures that businesses can operate without interruptions, meet production targets, and maintain a competitive edge in the global market.

Additionally, base load energy plays a vital role in improving the quality of life for Ghanaians by powering essential services such as hospitals, schools, and residential areas.

There are no simple solutions to complex problems but nuclear power provides a solid foundation for Ghana to remain the fastest growing economy on the continent.

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