The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) on Wednesday organised a scientific lecture aimed at showcasing the role of the Commission in strengthening industrial capacity through nuclear science and technology.
The lecture, which is the first in the series of educational engagements with the public, is part of activities scheduled for the commemoration of its 50th anniversary celebrations.
It also seeks to open up to the public, strategies on how to form partnerships in order to expand its capacity and possibly go commercial with its numerous products and services.
Professor Shiloh Osae, Director of the National Nuclear Research Institute of the Commission in a presentation indicated that GAEC has over the past 50 years developed numerous capacities to facilitate industrial growth in the country.
He said the Commission has a lot to offer in the industrial sector in terms of training in safety and quality assurance regarding the application of nuclear science and technology and therefore called for partnerships, especially from the private sector, to support their activities and help expand their capital base for further expansion.
He said the Commission has also succeeded in promoting, developing and utilizing the peaceful applications of nuclear and biotechnological techniques for economic and social advancement of Ghana.
We have currently the highest concentration of scientists, whose services are sought both locally and internationally, with most of them serving as Board members and experts with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
According to Prof. Osae with its expert scientists, the Commission has been able to maintain and carries regular maintenance on the Nuclear Reactor 1, which was installed by a team of Ghanaian and Chinese experts in 1995.
In pursuance of its objectives the Commission has also established Institutes and Centres, which carry out appropriate research activities and provide several services to ensure the protection of the Ghanaian population and in particular end-users of x-ray units, radiation sources and radioactive materials from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation and safety of radiation sources used in medicine, industry, research and teaching.
He indicated for example that, the Radiation Protection Institute of the Commission has the authority to inspect and control all activities and practices involving sealed radiation sources, ionizing radiation and other sources, radioactive materials and x-rays used in hospitals in Ghana.
These are all measures to ensure environmental protection and human exposure to radioactive sources and also prevent such harmful materials from falling into wrong hands.
“We also monitor the importation of all industrial and health equipments such as x-ray machines and scanners and further gather them for safe keeping when they have outlived their usefulness,” he said.
He said others such as the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BINARI), one of the four institutes under GAEC, is responsible for undertaking researches into post-harvest management of agricultural products and improvement in hygienic quality of medical products.
It had undertaken focused and problem solving research over the past decade, the outcome of which was now ready for application in the health, agriculture and trade sectors of the economy, he said.
He said the Commission also monitors food and food products imported into the country to ensure their safety from harmful radioactivity that may have resulted from their processing.
According to him GAEC is also regular in their provision of experts and engineer services at the construction site of the Bui Hydroelectric Dam, the West African Gas Pipeline project, Aboadze Thermal Power Plant and Newmont Mines among others for construction and regular repair and maintenance.
He said discussions are underway to review the legislation that established the Commission to make it more convenient for it to go commercial in order to make a meaningful impact on all sectors to ensure total development of the country’s economy through the application of nuclear science and technology.