Ghana is poised to select a company to construct its first nuclear power plant by December 2024, Reuters has reported.

Power deputy director in charge of nuclear and alternative energy Robert Sogbadji has confirmed the list of competitors, which includes France’s EDF, US-based NuScale Power and Regnum Technology Group, the China National Nuclear Corporation, South Korea’s Kepco and its subsidiary Korea Hydro Nuclear Power Corporation, and Russia’s ROSATOM.

The selection process is a significant step towards realising the country’s long-considered nuclear ambitions.

Reuters quoted Sogbadji: “Cabinet will approve the final choice. It can be one vendor or two nations; it will depend on the financial model and the technical details.”

The idea of a nuclear power plant in Ghana dates back to the 1960s but was interrupted by a coup.

The plan was revitalised in 2006 with support from the International Atomic Energy Association after a severe power crisis in the country.

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16 countries and companies initially responded to the government’s request for vendors, but a technical team led by the energy ministry narrowed it down to five.

Ghana is among several African nations considering nuclear power to bridge energy supply gaps.

More than 600 million people on the continent are without electricity. Burkina Faso and Uganda have agreements with Russia and China to build their first nuclear plants, while Kenya, Morocco and Namibia are also pursuing nuclear energy.

South Africa, home to the continent’s only nuclear plant, is planning to expand its nuclear capacity by 2.5GW to address power shortages.

Ghana aims to integrate 1GW of nuclear power into its electricity mix by 2034, according to Sogbadji.

The country, which is currently experiencing power outages, has an installed capacity of 5.45GW with 4.48GW available.

As an exporter of oil, cocoa and gold, the country sees nuclear energy as a means to accelerate industrialisation and increase energy exports through the West Africa Power Pool.

Sogbadji further stated that the government has secured a site that can accommodate up to five reactors and is seeking a “build, own, operate and transfer” arrangement, with opportunities for local equity participation.