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Ghana’s nuclear energy ambitions to be supported by the US and Japan

31st October 2022

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The West African country of Ghana is set to be the first beneficiary of a new joint US-Japan civil nuclear cooperation agreement, established last week, named ‘Winning an Edge Through Cooperation in Advanced Nuclear’ (WECAN). Aimed at helping countries meet both their energy security and climate change mitigation goals, the agreement was signed at a Ministerial meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the US capital of Washington DC.

“The [IAEA] considers nuclear energy necessary to achieve long-term climate goals, including net-zero emissions by 2050,” pointed out the US State Department in its press release. "WECAN reaffirms commitments by Japan and the United States to energy innovation, energy security, and global clean energy transition in a smart, cost-effective, and secure way by advancing the latest technology and commercial leadership in emerging technologies that provide firm, reliable electricity and industrial heat.”

Immediately after creating WECAN, Japan and the US announced their partnership with Ghana to support that country’s aim of being the first in Africa to deploy small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) and become a hub for advanced nuclear technologies. This support could include the necessary regulatory and technical help as well as feasibility studies. This assistance would also be available to other countries seeking to adopt innovative nuclear technologies.

“WECAN is designed to create viable projects for the deployment of advanced nuclear technologies to support energy security goals, facilitate power-sector decarbonisation, and foster decarbonisation in other energy sectors, like heavy industry,” explained the State Department. “This pipeline development for net-zero-enabling technologies aims to support clean energy access in countries around the world.”

According to World Nuclear News, the first step under WECAN, in support of Ghana, would be Japanese support for a joint Japanese-US industry and Ghana government feasibility study on the potential to deploy a NuScale VOYGR SMR nuclear power plant in the African country. The Japanese and US companies involved were IHI Corporation, JGC Corporation, Regnum Technology Group and NuScale Power. The Ghanaian entities involved were Nuclear Power Ghana, the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission’s Nuclear Power Institute, and the Nuclear Regulatory Authority.     

The feasibility study would include assessments of Ghana’s existing infrastructure and evaluations of supply chain opportunities for Ghanaian companies. The study did not commit Ghana to adopting the NuScale technology, and any such adoption would be subject to Ghana’s nuclear regulations and US export controls.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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