Small Modular Reactors

Ghana / US Says African Nation Could Become Hub For Small Modular Reactors

By David Dalton
4 June 2024

New agreements include planned deployment of NuScale simulator

US Says African Nation Could Become Hub For Small Modular Reactors
Accra, the capital of Ghana. The US says the African nation could become a hub for small modular reactors. Amanor Kwaku/Wikipedia.

Ghana could become a regional hub for small modular reactors under a cooperation agreement for the US to further support the West African nation’s use of nuclear power,

The agreement, announced by US principal deputy assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation Ann Ganzer, is designed to advance the deployment of a US SMR in Ghana.

In a statement the US embassy in Ghana said SMRs can provide 24/7 reliable power, complement other clean energy sources, have flexible siting requirements, and use a small land area.

“US SMRs incorporate advanced safety features, including designs to withstand extreme weather and seismic events, and can be tailored to match the specific needs of a country’s power grid, with the ability to scale up as needed,” the statement said.

“Importantly, SMRs can play a critical role in decarbonising non-electric sectors, such as industry and transportation.

The embassy said the US and Ghana had also signed a memorandum of understanding and contractual arrangements for the provision of a NuScale Energy Exploration (E2) Center and related services at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission.

The planned deployment of a NuScale E2 Center in Ghana — a first for the African continent — will be a key tool for preparing the workforce for SMR deployment in Ghana and beyond.

The E2 Center, a simulator of NuScale Power’s SMR control room, will provide a hands-on training facility to develop and train nuclear operators and engineers.

US-based NuScale is developing the Voygr small modular reactor, which can be deployed in units of 77 MW each up to 12 units for a generating capacity of 924 MW.

In November 2023, NuScale cancelled a project to build a Voygr plant for a Utah power provider as costs increased.

Earlier this year, Stephen Yamoah, executive director of state-owned project company Nuclear Power Ghana, told NucNet Ghana was aiming to choose a technology provider for a proposed first nuclear power station in 2024 and was already carrying out a series of studies at a preferred site, although financing remained a “major challenge”. He said plants might be large-scale units or SMRs.

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