The government needs to make more financial commitment to nuclear infrastructure in order to drive its industrialization agenda to create more jobs for the youth and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Prof. Benjamin Jabez Botwe Nyarko, said major investment in nuclear applications was not only crucial to driving its industrialization agenda but also to meet the country’s developmental objectives, particularly in areas such as power production, human health, food production, water management, and environmental protection.
“As a nation, if we want more forward, we must try as much as possible to harness the potential of nuclear energy in our developmental agenda,” he said.
He was speaking at a day’s engagement session with some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on SDGs eight and nine, which was organized by the Nuclear Power Institute of GAEC on behalf of Ghana’s Nuclear Power Program Organization (GNPPO) in Accra.
While SDG eight talks about promoting decent work and economic growth, nine is on building resilient infrastructure, promotion of inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering of innovation.
Participants also discussed the progress made so far in developing the country’s nuclear power program and the roles played by CSOs as agents of development in the delivery of the country’s nuclear power program.
The Director-General said the greatest source of energy, the sun, was the bedrock of every living organism in any country, hence the need for the government to take bold steps in exploring the energy sector for the greater good of the people.
Prof. Nyarko, also the Vice-Chairperson for the GNPPO, explained that the two SDGs were interdependent and that without industrialization there would be no economic development.
“Industries drive the economy of every nation, and for industries to thrive, energy will be required, and not just any form of energy but a dense, stable, clean and affordable energy and that is where nuclear energy comes in.
“We are not saying other energy sources should be abandoned. What we are saying is that it should be an addition to Ghana’s energy mix just as Korea and other developed countries have done and are enjoying the benefits,” he added.
For his part, the Director of Nuclear Power Ghana, Dr. Stephen Yamoah, said the country could not achieve its SDGs without nuclear energy, adding that aggressively exploring nuclear energy would not only increase the country’s generation capacity but would also drive industrial growth while improving technology and services.
He cited South Korea’s industrial transformation and said they regarded nuclear not just as an energy source to be added to their generation capacity but as an industry to propel their economy.
“Today, they are not just an economic giant, they are selling nuclear technologies and nuclear power plants to other countries. Nuclear energy is a very interesting technology that as a country we must take very seriously to help transform our country,” he added.
Speaking for the CSO platforms that work collaboratively to achieve the SDGs in the country, the National Coordinator for CSO Platform on SDG, Mr. Kwadwo Owusu, expressed his gratitude for the involvement of CSOs in the program as it also focused on the country’s Nuclear Power.
“If we make good strides in the generation of energy, I think almost all the SDGs stand to benefit,” he added.
Source: Daily Graphic