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Mr. Chairman

Dr. Nii Moi Thompson, Director-General, NDPC

Experts from the IAEA

Members of the Diplomatic Corp

GNPPO Board members

CEOs and Institutional Reps.

Directors of Various Institutes

Reps from Various Stakeholder Organizations

Friends from the Media

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

It is a great honor and privilege for me to welcome you to the opening ceremony of Ghana’s Phase 1 Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Mission.  Let me use this opportunity, on behalf of the Government of Ghana and the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation, to extend my warm welcome to the team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The goal of this IAEA Coordinated International Peer Review is to conduct a holistic evaluation of Ghana’s nuclear infrastructure on the basis of 19 Infrastructure issues for nuclear power development, and subsequently, to provide suggestions and recommendations to fill gaps that may exist.

Ghana made an official request to the IAEA to carry out the Phase Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Mission (INIR) on 3rd December 2015.  It is worth noting that, Ghana had to satisfy a preceding requirement of conducting and submitting a self-evaluation report (SER) to the IAEA.  Mr. Chairman, the SER was developed by the GNPPO with the active involvement of all relevant stakeholder organizations. After the submission of the initial SER a preliminary INIR support mission was held from August 8 – 10, 2016.  A revised SER was then prepared and submitted to the IAEA together with over 150 supporting documents in early December 2016. 

The INIR mission will be comprised of interviews and discussions between the IAEA team and a panel of GNPPO members and stakeholder representatives, for each of the nineteen (19) infrastructure issues.  Mr. Chairman, may I assure participants that there would be long sessions that will require total commitment and attention by all.  There will be an exit meeting presentation on the final day of the mission, where results and recommendations would be discussed.

Mr. Chairman, it is a well-known fact that a large number of people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to electricity, and for those that have access, reliability, sustainability and cost issues have become very compelling.  Indeed, almost every problem facing a developing nation is also an energy access problem: agriculture, health, education, lack of productive industries for economic growth among others. 

Ghana’s growing energy demand, worsened by rapid population growth, industrialization and major infrastructural development, requires a comprehensive assessment of our energy infrastructure, available energy sources, and how these could be exploited in the short, medium and long-term.

Our quest to find a lasting solution to our energy problems has brought into perspective nuclear energy, which was our first President’s vision on energy.  The revitalization of his vision of exploiting nuclear energy for electricity generation started with the setting up of a Presidential Committee in 2007 known as the Adjei Bekoe Committee, which was tasked to advice government on the potential use of nuclear energy for electricity generation in Ghana.

Mr. Chairman, the compelling and instructive conclusions of the Committee’s report that led to Cabinet’s decision in 2008 to include nuclear energy into Ghana’s energy mix noted that:

          i.            A decision by the country to explore nuclear energy for electricity generation would be a natural progression in the country’s technological advancement;

        ii.            The introduction of nuclear power in Ghana’s fuel supply mix will improve our energy security and would be vital in sustaining the energy requirements of a middle income economy.

Among others, the Committee also recommended the setting up of a Presidential Commission on Nuclear Power Development (PCNPD) with the mandate to manage the programme.  Mr. Chairman, it is gratifying to note that the Government of Ghana subsequently set up the e Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organization for this purpose.  Since then, the government has passed a comprehensive nuclear law, NRA Act, 2015 (Act 895) which established the Nuclear Regulatory Authority.  As part of Ghana’s commitment to the international community, the country has acceded to a number of international conventions and instruments in connection with non-proliferation, physical protection, nuclear safety, and security, and is conducting various pre-feasibility studies in the 19 infrastructure areas.

We are aware of the tremendous effort required, and the large investment costs and human capacity building needed for the programme’s implementation, but are encouraged by the vision of our first President, the support from government, the enthusiasm of our stakeholders, the prospective jobs to be created, and the contribution the programme will make to the reduction of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.  I dare say that we simply cannot disappoint with the second opportunity to add nuclear energy to our energy mix, after the efforts of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah our first President. 

It is important to state our commitment to safety, security and safeguards requirements.  It is for this reason that our roadmap for nuclear power development follows the IAEA’s methodology of covering 19 key infrastructure issues, in 3 phases and with 3 milestones.  

Mr. Chairman let me refer to a quote from Jessie Owens, the famous American track and field Olympic medalist, “We all have dreams but in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” It is the untiring efforts of the GNPPO and its key stakeholders that has brought us this far, and we acknowledge the individual and collective efforts of all.

Before I conclude, may I express our appreciation to the IAEA for their support for Ghana’s nuclear power programme.  We look forward to stronger future collaboration. 

Much appreciation also goes to our sponsors: Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Volta River Authority, Ghana Airports Company Ltd., Group Five Construction, Ghana Grid Company, Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Tropical Cables and Conductors Ltd, Asanko Gold Ghana. Ltd, Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana Institution of Engineers, Ghana Chamber of Mines, Engineering Services Provision Company Ltd, Berock Ventures Ltd, Cornerstone Capital Advisors Ltd., and AB & David Law Firm.

Finally, on behalf of Ghana and the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organization, I welcome you all to Ghana’s Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Mission for Phase 1.  I wish you all fruitful discussions and look forward to having outcomes that will help propel us into the next phase of the programme.

Thank you for your attention.