Ghana Atomic Energy Commission unveils five-year corporate strategic plan
The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) on Tuesday launched its 50th Anniversary celebration which aimed, among other things, at educating the public about the safe and peaceful applications of nuclear science, biotechnology and related technology.
The occasion was also used to showcase the Commission’s five-year Corporate Strategic Plan which would hopefully guide the Commission towards sustained growth and development.
Dr Joseph Oteng-Adjei, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), acknowledged the immense contributions of GAEC in development of education, health, water resources identification, agriculture and food security, industry, environment and energy.
He commended the management and staff whose sustained commitment over the years had led to the maintenance of the enviable records of the Commission with regards to nuclear safety and security.
He, therefore, urged them to forge ahead with renewed determination to achieve the goals and objectives of the five-year Corporate Strategic Plan among other things.
The milestone was, therefore, being commemorated on the theme; “Ghana Atomic Energy Commission @ 50: Achievements, Challenges and Prospects”.
Dr Oteng-Adjei said since the establishment of the Commission in 1963, Ghana’s nuclear research and development efforts had focused on the enhancement of agricultural productivity, improvement of human health, ensuring environmental protection and achievements and the maintenance of a high level of radiation safety.
The Commission, over the years, has collaborated with the Medical School at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital by providing diagnostic services in areas such as organ function tests and imaging of organs such as thyroid, liver spleen, brain and kidney.
He also mentioned the Commission’s facilitation of the establishment of the two Radiotherapy Centres at Korle-bu and Okomfo Anokye Teaching hospitals for the treatment of cancer.
He said the Commission was currently embarking on other initiatives such as the establishment of a Nuclear Imaging and Diagnostic Centre for the early detection of cancer.
“I am reliably informed that the facilities and techniques for identifying petroleum hydrocarbons such as Infra-red Spectroscopy, Ultraviolet Spectroscopy, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Gas Chromatography are available in your laboratories,” he said.
He said with the recent discovery of oil in Ghana the Commission would use all available nuclear techniques to support the processing of crude oil into fractions including gas, gasoline, kerosene, petrol, lubrication oil, paraffin and other derivatives.
Dr Oteng-Adjei said with the three additional institutes namely; the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agricultural Research Institute, the Radiation Protection Institute and recently the Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute, the Commission was better placed to support all sectors of the economy.
He, however, said in spite of its critical role in the development efforts of the country, there was very little public knowledge and understanding about its operations and indicated that the occasion would present a good opportunity for the Commission to interact with the public.
He pledged the Ministry’s support to the efforts of all scientists, technicians and engineers in realising their goals.
Professor Benjamin Jabez Nyarko, Director- General of GAEC, said the involvement of the Commission in the health sector dated back to 1973 when the Ghana Atomic Reactor Project was reactivated.
The Health Services and Nuclear Medicine Departments were created within the Commission to harness the potential of nuclear energy on health issues, he said.
GAEC is affiliated to various international bodies including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which is a regulatory body that ensures its members observed high levels of ethical and principled nuclear safety principles.
He said notwithstanding its numerous achievements over the years, the Commission still faced challenges and limitations such as inadequate funding for research activities as well as expanded infrastructure.
He called for the support of the private sector to complement Government’s efforts to ensure expanded research activities and infrastructural development of the Commission.
Prof Nyarko called on the public to join the Commission in its celebration of the achievements and prospects in the ensuing year.
Programmes outlined for the celebration include scientific lectures, blood donation, radio and television talk shows and charitable works.