A Review of Ghana’s National Legal and Regulatory Framework for Nuclear Power and the way Forward
Ghana’s interest in nuclear power dates back to the 1950s and has continued under successive governments. Recently, the government of Ghana has renewed its commitment to establish a nuclear power programme and use nuclear power to drive economic transformation and development. Hence, Ghana has aligned its nuclear programme closely with the recommendations and guidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), especially as outlined in the IAEA Milestones Approach. The Statute of the IAEA authorizes the IAEA to promote the safe and peaceful use of nuclear energy. The safe and peaceful use of nuclear energy in any given State can only be assured with the promulgation and implementation of an effective national nuclear legal framework and infrastructure. Over the past two decades, the IAEA’s Office of Legal Affairs has provided assistance to Ghana in the development of its national nuclear legal infrastructures and training of professionals. The legislative framework for nuclear power generation has two main aspects: international and national legislative framework. At the international level, Ghana has ratified some basic international legal instruments, which, when implemented, will show Ghana’s commitment to peaceful use and application of nuclear energy. At the national level, Ghana has enacted legislation to deal with radiation, waste, transport safety, environmental protection; among others, which, is relevant and is being taken into account in the development of its legal and regulatory infrastructure. In addition, Ghana has established an independent regulatory body, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) to provide for the regulation and management of activities and practices for the peaceful use of nuclear material or energy, radioactive material or radiation; the protection of persons and the environment against the harmful effects of radiation hazards; to ensure the effective implementation of Ghana’s international obligations, and for related matters. Also, Ghana has started the development of its Nuclear Power Program through the establishment of its nuclear infrastructure and the training of personnel to mount this program. The Nuclear Power Planning Committee (NPPC) comprising Stakeholder Institutions was established by the President of Ghana in 2008 for the formulation of the Nuclear Power Policy and development of the basic elements of nuclear infrastructure. Despite all this, more work lies ahead. Ghana will need long term commitment and planning, large scale financial and human capital investment, and effective implementation of its national legal framework, if its nuclear power programme is to succeed. Therefore, this study aims to review available international, national legal and regulatory frameworks and the extent to which these frameworks will enhance the establishment of a functional and sustainable nuclear power programme in Ghana.