Ghana Incapable Of Storing Dangerous Radioactive Waste Safely!

Thu, 7 Mar 2013 Source: Thompson, Kofi

By Kofi Thompson

Many thanks for your email, Mr. Robert Nunoo. Yes, nuclear research makes sense - but the risks entailed in storing radioactive waste from nuclear power stations are the reasons why we must never consider that option.

Just think of the number of abandoned underground fuel tanks in defunct petrol filling-stations leaking fuel and contaminating the underground water-table nationwide - as a result of the inability of an inadequately-resourced regulatory body like the EPA to police the industry and enforce compliance of (on-the-ground) regulations.

A nation in which such things occur must never contemplate building nuclear power plants.

How will we deal with the uber-expensive business of decommissioning nuclear power plants in future - when we are always broke because public officials perpetually get away with siphoning off zillions from the state?

Have you also noticed how even well-educated people have 'purchased' the GAEC's land in Kwabenya? The question is: Are they not aware of the potential risks to them - in case of some serious accident at even that relatively tiny nuclear research facility?

A society with such a mentality must never be allowed to be talked into building nuclear power plants by clever people (some with a hidden agenda of their own) - not until ordinary people can be guaranteed that the radioactive waste from Ghanaian nuclear power stations will be safely and securely stored.

You and I both know that any such guarantee by officialdom here won't be worth the paper it is written on.

Twenty years ago, I started risking my life fighting to get the Forestry Commission (FC) to do what it was set up to do: protect the remainder of our forests.

No one lifted a finger - and from what I was seeing on the ground, it was obvious to me that we would have to import timber for the local market eventually, because of the inability of the poorly-resourced FC to act against illegal chainsaw operators. Has that not come to pass?

(Ditto illegal surface gold mining in Akyem Abuakwa funded by super-wealthy and uber-respectable criminals. Today once-beautiful Akyem Abuakwa has a pork-marked face, because lethargic officialdom failed to take our warnings seriously. But I digress.)

Massa, this is Ghana, not Japan or Germany. And even they with their well-organised and efficient systems have radioactive waste storage problems. Who are we kidding, Opanin?

Let's rather focus on empowering ordinary Ghanaians to be able to afford solar power systems for their properties; encourage the private sector to partner government to build PPP wind-farms and also harness the power of the Atlantic Ocean's waves.

No one in this country can convince me that public officials in Ghana will be able to supervise the storage of radioactive waste effectively - so as to ensure the safety of present and future generations of Ghanaians. Ever.

That is why we must not allow nuclear power stations in Ghana, Opanin. Its that simple.

The nuclear research plant in Kwabenya can serve academia perfectly in their air-conditioned Ivory Tower, can it not - so what more do our well-educated community of well-paid nuclear research scientists want?

What right do the 'book-long' middle class Ghanaians advocating taking up this potential apocalyptic nightmare have, to risk the lives of present and future generations of ordinary people in Ghana, who if they understood the fact that radioactive waste from nuclear power stations will remain dangerous for thousands of years, will never agree to allowing them to be built anywhere in Ghana?

Despite the small army of well-trained technocrats who run our utilities, our nation is still unable to even provide ordinary Ghanaians across the nation with treated water and electricity on a regular basis. Something so basic. Incredible, but true.

Why must ordinary people trust any public official in charge of storing dangerous radioactive waste from nuclear power stations in Ghana to do any better in the performance of their duties, I ask? Peace and blessings to you, Opanin.

Yours in the service of Mother Ghana,


Columnist: Thompson, Kofi