GAEC TO TRAIN RADIOGRAPHERS IN RADIATION PROTECTION AND SAFETY

The Radiation Protection Institute (RPI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) will host a five-day workshop on radiation protection and safety in Accra, from September 27 to October 1, 2021.

The objective of the workshop is to equip Radiographers and X-ray Technicians with the techniques of dealing with risks associated with excessive radiation exposure as well as update practitioners on the right protocols and procedures when performing such radiographic procedures.

According to the Manager of the Radiation, Protection, Training, and Consultancy Center (RPTCC) of RPI, Dr. Stephen Inkoom, the risks associated with excessive radiation exposure cannot be overlooked because it could affect the health of a patient and the practitioner.

“In the day-to-day work of radiographers, it is possible for an unintended part of a patient to be exposed to radiation. For instance, the Doctor asked for an X-ray of the left wrist, however, the right wrist was mistakenly exposed to radiation instead of the left wrist. This scenario requires that the best radiation safety practice should be employed to the benefit of both the patient and the X-ray Technician,” he said.

Dr. Inkoom explained that Radiographers and X-ray Technician are guided by work ethics that ensures protection and safety when exposing patients to any form of radiation. “Before a patient is examined using radiation, the request must be justified by a medical doctor. After the procedure is justified, the examination will then be performed by a Radiographer or X-ray Technician using minimal radiation dose to achieve the needed diagnostic objective,” he added.

The Manager of RPTCC made it known that Ghana is required by the provisions of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Basic Safety Standards to train Radiographers and X-ray Technicians whose work involves radiation exposure.

He added that training in radiation protection and safety was not only an international requirement but also a requirement by the regulatory body that regulates the peaceful use of ionizing radiation in Ghana, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) of Ghana.

According to Dr. Inkoom, although the workshop is mainly targeted at Radiographers, X-ray Technicians, however Biomedical Engineers, Radiologists, Darkroom Attendants, and Nurses can also attend, adding: “participants stand to gain credit points from the Allied Health Professions Council of Ghana as part of their Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and career progression.”

“Participants will be given hands-on training, served with lunch during the training, and provided with certificates at the end of the workshop”, he noted.

Topics to be treated include X-ray Imaging Safety in Pediatrics and Pregnant Women, Decommissioning of X-ray machine procedures, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Safety, Radiation Protection in Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine.

The others are emerging trends in Diagnostic Imaging, Radiation Protection Trends in Medical Exposure, and Practical Radiation Protection in Digital Radiology.

Ghana’s Nuclear Power Project estimated to generate $1.2 billion for local industries – GAEC Boss

The Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Prof. Benjamin Jabez Botwe Nyarko, has said that Ghana’s Nuclear Power Programme (NPP) is estimated to generate US$1.2 billion through local industry participation during its implementation.

Speaking at the 4th edition of the Ghana Industrial Summit and Exhibition in Accra, the Director-General said the US$1.2 billion is a projection based on a 1000MW nuclear power plant construction which is exclusive of the benefits that will be accrued when the nuclear power plant becomes operational.

Prof. Nyarko who is also the Vice-Chairman of the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organization (GNPPO) and the Board Chair of the Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG), explained, that industrial involvement is one of the 19 infrastructure issues of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recommended milestone approach to develop a nuclear power programme. He added that a newcomer country is expected to generate at least 20 percent local content and local participation in the nuclear power project.

Director-General of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Prof. Benjamin Jabez Botwe Nyarko (Standing), delivering a speech at the Summit.

In leading participants to appreciate the financial benefits to the local industry, Prof. Nyarko explained that if one considers a US$6 billion nuclear power project, 20 percent is very significant and would be a huge boost to the local industry.

“In the IAEA approach of a newcomer country undertaking nuclear power programme, there are 19 infrastructure issues, and one of the infrastructure issues is industrial involvement. “And so, if we are talking about an industry that is going to cost about $6 billion, you can estimate how much benefits Ghanaian local industries will derive from the programme,” he said.

He cautioned, however, that the country’s ability to fully participate would depend on the capacity of the local industry. He, therefore, called for the deepening of the partnership between the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organization (GNPPO) to prevent the reliance on foreign companies for goods and services to the nuclear power project.

“Once Ghana is on the path of adding nuclear power to its energy generation mix, it is essential that the capacity of Ghanaian owned industries is built so that they do not lose out,” he added. When it comes to nuclear, some standards and specifications must be met, and so, local industries must be well equipped to benefit from the implementation of the nuclear power project,” he said.

By CPRC/CCD

Borehole water is not always safe

Research conducted by the National Isotope Hydrology Center (NIHC) of the National Nuclear Research Institute of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has established that water from boreholes is not always safe for domestic use.

This is owed to the fact that most of the land sites on which boreholes are drilled for water may be contaminated with toxic chemicals and heavy metals.

 

Dr. Cynthia Laar
Dr. Cynthia Laar

Dr. Cynthia Laar, a Research Scientist at the NIHC, who made this known in an interview at the Commission, explained that many of these boreholes are drilled without conducting a proper investigation to ascertain the appropriateness of the site as a source of water for domestic use.

“Dental fluorosis, arsenic poisoning, liver and lung cancers are some of the health issues associated with the use of contaminated groundwater” she stressed.

 

Also, Dr. Abass Gibrilla, a Research Scientist at the NIHC advised that borehole water should be tested every two years at least, to ascertain the safety of the water for its continued use.

He noted that the Isotope Hydrology Center uses nuclear technology to investigate the origin, age, recharge mechanisms, and sources of contaminants in groundwater.

“The Center is also involved in site investigations, supervision of borehole drilling and water quality tests”, he indicated.

He added that the NHIC has a well-equipped laboratory and well-qualified human resources needed to support active groundwater research.

 

Dr. Abass Gibrilla
Dr. Abass Gibrilla

Dr. Gibrilla, therefore, urged Ghanaians to show much concern on the quality of the water they drink and take the necessary steps to ensure that their water sources (boreholes) are well constructed and tested to ensure they are free from contaminants and other toxins, which he said were harmful to human health.

“Water is life, But the quality of water we drink defines our health”, he concluded.

 

By CPRC/CCD, GAEC

GAEC boss honoured at International Conference on political/civil strife in Africa

The Director-General of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Prof. Benjamin J.B. Nyarko has been honored at the International Conference on Political/Civil Strife in Africa held at the Fiesta Royal Hotel, Accra.

The award, conferred on him by the West Africa International Press Limited, was in recognition of his contribution to the promotion of peace and security in the nuclear industry which has contributed to the socio-economic development of Ghana.

The West African International Press, publishers of the West African International Magazine is concerned with bringing to the forefront issues of corruption, hunger, poverty, and politics among member countries that are detrimental to development.

Additionally, they also collaborate with organizations, ministries, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to organize conferences, trade missions, and award programs in honor of deserving Africans, who have contributed to the promotion of peace and development in their chosen professions.

In his remarks, the chairman for the occasion, Noble Justice Isaac Duose, a retired Appeals Court Judge, who is also the chairman of the governing council of Wisconsin International University College noted that peace and security are essential elements for the development of every nation.

“Where a people are so tied unshakably to the rightness of their tribe or religion, conflict, strife is bound to arise” he stated.

Noble Justice Duose indicated the inter-tribal strife is bound to be abundant and serious where people are not prepared to eschew their pride and intolerance of other peoples’ tribes.

“To be honest, unless our leaders are honest and humble enough to admit and to take advantage of our variety, we will continue to be in strife,” he added.

The award ceremony brought together professionals from various government agencies and industries including education, health, manufacturing, and business for excellence and contribution to peace and development.

By: CPRC/CCD

Nyonko Do Farmers Association gets technical assistance from GAEC

The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has decided to offer technical support to a farm-based organization, Nyonko Do Farmers Association (NDFA), in the area of Agriculture and Agribusiness.

The decision was the outcome of a meeting between GAEC and NDFA on Wednesday, 27th January 2021.

Last year, NDFA approached the Commission to seek collaboration, support, and expertise to help boost the Association’s agric-related businesses, in line with Government’s 1D1F project.

 

A representative of the Association, Madam Cynthia Mensa made a strong case for the collaboration between GAEC, financial institutions, and farm-based groups within the country, adding that it would help create and sustain a viable value chain for the agricultural sector in its bid to actualize the aims of the 1D1F.

“GAEC is a credible institution, the reason we are here today seeking opportunities in terms of technical assistance from the scientists, funding and business plans/models”, she indicated.

 

“In spite of the farmer’s ability to produce in tons, they face a number of challenges, including, access to funds, technical know-how, and post-harvest losses”, she added.

The Acting Director of Commercialization and Communication Directorate (CCD), Mrs. Sheila Frimpong, in a brief remark, said since the first meeting last year, a lot of paperwork on collaboration between the two entities had been done.

“A memorandum of understanding has been drafted and forwarded to the Office of Legal Affairs of GAEC for their consideration and approval”, she added.

 

The Director of Biotechnology and Nuclear Agricultural Research Institute (BNARI) of GAEC, Dr. Micheal Osae, also enumerated the various areas of assistance the Institute would offer the Association.

This he said includes soil testing, compost production, and irrigation systems. He added that post-harvest management services with a solar dryer and Gamma irradiation technology were available to address post-harvest losses.

 

A representative from the Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute (GSSTI) of GAEC, Mr. Patrick Lamptey, also noted that as part of the collaboration, drone technology, and satellite imaging would be used for weather forecasting and monitoring of irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticide application.

Meanwhile, the GAEC team would arrange and take a tour of the farms and projects being undertaken by NDFA at their base in Kasoa in the Central Region. This visit would allow the team to familiarize themselves with the issues raised by the farmers firsthand. The visit to the project site would inform the next line of action.

Ghanaian Nuclear Scientist Elected Member of IPRA Executive Council

Dr. Joseph Amoako Deputy Director, Radiation Protection Institute
Dr. Joseph Amoako
Deputy Director, Radiation Protection Institute

The International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA) has elected Dr. Joseph Amoako as a member of its Executive Council for the 2021-2024 tenure.

Dr. Amoako was elected to the Council following the announcement of three vacant positions which were keenly contested by candidates from Ghana, Australia, the United Kingdom, and South Korea, among others.

He is the first African to be elected to the Executive Council, the highest decision-making body of the Association.

Dr. Amoako is the Deputy Director of the Radiation Protection Institute of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, and also the Vice President of the Ghana Association for Radiation Protection. He is a Senior Lecturer at the Graduate School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences of the University of Ghana.

He spearheaded groundbreaking research in Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission. This has helped in the monitoring of Mobile Phone Base Stations in Ghana, assessment of Microwave devices, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines, among others. Dr. Amoako was an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) fellow at the Greek Atomic Energy Commission in Occupation Radiation Protection.

IRPA is the international association of radiation protection professionals with 53 associate societies in 68 countries.

IPRA promotes high professional competence, radiation protection culture, and practice by providing benchmarks of good practice and encouraging the application of the highest standards of professional conduct, skills, and knowledge for the benefit of individuals and society.

By CPRC/CCD

Ghana Atomic Energy Commission Welcomes Its 9TH Batch of Students for their Post-Graduate Education Course in Radiation Protection

The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission on Monday, 2nd November, welcomed the 9th batch of students to undertake an IAEA Regional post-graduate education course in Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources held in the conference room of Graduate School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences (SNAS)

The five-month course to be undertaken by SNAS, University of Ghana is designed to educate its participants to efficiently add to the competent workforce of the nuclear industry.

In his address, the Chairperson for the occasion, Prof Cyril Schandorf admonished the participants to remain humble and cooperative throughout the duration of the course. “I employ the participants to put on the clock of humility, a learning and cooperative attitude throughout the course” he stated.

He further said that the knowledge the participants will acquire through the course will be a stepping stone to other carrier pathways that will include being the radiation protection officer for authorized facilities in the various countries.

Additionally, Prof. Schandorf stated that it is his expectation that the Planning Committee of the Post-Graduate Education course (PGEC) will assist in creating a network for knowledge sharing among professionals in the field of radiation protection.

Prof Augustine Faanu, the Course Coordinator, delivered a message from Edwerd Mickel, the IAEA Technical Officer on behalf of Prof Yaw Serfor-Armah, the Course Director.

He congratulated the participants on their admission for the course and said that the participants should be proud for being selected out of the numerous applications received by the IAEA. “The PGEC fellows should be aware that they were nominated as a result of a thorough process. Like in previous years, we evaluated approximately 230 applicants and based on established criteria, you were selected” he added

He encouraged them to accord the highest interest and dedication to the course so that they can build their competence and contribute effectively to the development nuclear industry.

The Director General of GAEC, Prof B.J.B. Nyarko in his address advised the students to observe all the COVID-19 protocols. He stated that a lot of factors had to be satisfied before the green light was given to undertake this training course

Prof Nyarko further advised the students to use the laid down channels to register all their grievances. “Make sure you talk to your Course Coordinators if you have any challenge, otherwise talk to the Course Director. But if the problem still persists, you can bring it to me for redress” he stated.

He officially welcomed them and wished them well in their studies.

By: Corporate Affairs, GAEC

Technical Staff Association of GAEC Inaugurated

The Director General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Prof. BJB Nyarko last Thursday inaugurated the Technical Staff Association (TSA) of the Commission as the newest worker group in a short ceremony held in the GAEC Auditorium, Accra.

Vice Chancellor of the Accra Technical University, Prof. Samuel Nii Odai, Special Guest of Honour.
Director General of GAEC, Prof. B.J.B Nyarko

The Technical Staff Association is a worker group that provides a common platform for the Technical Staff of GAEC to discuss personnel development and work-related issues that promote the safe application of nuclear science and technology.

The Special Guest of Honour was the Vice Chancellor of the Accra Technical University, Prof. Samuel Nii Odai, who gave the key note address.

Executives of GAEC Technical Staff Association (TSA)

Representatives of Technical Staff Associations from the University of Ghana, Ghana Standards Authority and other worker groups of the Commission, such as the Research Scientists Association, Trade Union Congress, Senior Staff Association and Association of Senior Members in Administration gave solidarity messages to support the formation of the TSA.

The welcome address for the occasion was delivered by the Director of Administration, Mr. William Srekumah.

The Chairman of the Association, Mr. Jacob Asomaning was grateful to God and all invited guests for making the inauguration a success.

By: Corporate Affairs, GAEC

Scientists call for nuclear technology in energy, health sectors

The Research Scientists Association (RSA) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has ended its three day celebrations with a call on government and major stakeholders to employ nuclear technology in pursuing reliable electricity supply and production as well as ensuring an agenda to apply nuclear technology to health care, particularly in the treatment of cancer, tuberculosis, malnutrition and a number of others.

The calls by Dr. Vincent Agbodemegbe, Manager of Localization and Stakeholder Support Center of the Nuclear Power Institute and Dr. Francis Hasford, Head of Medical Physics of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission respectively formed part of a public lecture at the British Council in Accra on Thursday as part of the Research Scientists Association’s maiden weeklong celebrations.

The RSA with membership at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Authority organized the public lecture as part of the RSA week celebration 2019 themed: “Ghana beyond aid: the role of nuclear technology.’

The aim of the lecture was to educate the general public on the peaceful application of nuclear in medicine and for the generation in electricity for the country.

To ensure dependable electricity supply, Dr. Vincent Agbodemegbe called for the pursue of nuclear technology which he said was a proven means of ensuring sustainable electricity which is the key energy component that supports and sustains national growth.

To ensure the dependence on electricity as a key energy component that supports and sustains national growth, Dr. Vincent Agbodemegbe said nuclear technology was the way to go as it remained a proven means of ensuring dependable electricity supply.

Speaking on the topic, “Sustainable Power Generation, the Nuclear Position,” the Manager Of Localization And Stakeholder Support Center of the Nuclear Power Institute argued that Ghana stood a good chance of creating wealth for its citizens and growing its economy if it could deliver affordable and dependable electricity power to its citizens, adding that most countries grew their economies and became prosperous with the provision of cheap and reliable electric power to their citizens.

He urged the Research Scientists’ Association to engage the public on the benefits of Ghana going nuclear especially with nuclear opportunities providing the needed energy for development and job creation.

Dr. Agbodemegbe described nuclear technology as presenting a comprehensive resolution to ensuring the effectiveness of Ghana’s economy, especially as key sectors that facilitated economic growth relied on electricity.

Dr. Francis Hasford who spoke on the theme, “Ghana Beyond Aid: Nuclear Technology for Better Health” recounted Ghana’s history of its agenda to resort to the use of nuclear technology in treating various health conditions including cancer.

According to him, there was the need for the full coverage of cancer care in the National Health Insurance Scheme, and the full implementation of the National Cancer Control Program.

With the active working age group usually affected with cancer, Dr. Francis Hasford said the technology was an effective option in detecting and curing the disease.

He called for adequate education on and screening to detect cancer in its early stages to back efforts at achieving the Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda in the health sector, adding that there should be satisfactory numbers of medical imaging and radiotherapy centers, as well as trained professionals.

Chairman for the occasion and a Board Member of GAEC, Professor Alexander Kwadwo while acknowledging the RSA’s proximity to the Agriculture, Energy, Education and Health Ministries noted that the association’s work was critical to the development of the nation.

He described the theme as very apt as it underscored the peaceful use of nuclear technology as its works had the potential of pushing the country’s economic development.

Representing the Director General Of The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Director Of The Radiological And Medical Sciences Research Institute of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Prof Mary Boadu said the RSA’s weeklong celebration was in response to the need for research scientists to make the findings of their work known to the public and clearly reveal their role in the development of Ghana.

According to her, research output should no longer be on the shelves of libraries nor in the laboratories.

Chief Director of the Ministry of Energy, Ing. Seth Manu who underscored the vital role energy played in every economy said one cannot talk about the economy without first talking about energy. “Energy we say is the economy and the economy is energy,” he said, adding that the development was the reason the Ministry of Energy saw the importance of nuclear and other sustainable energy.

He said the Ministry of Energy through its affiliated institution and agencies, was progressively making the required efforts at improving Ghana’s energy situation as it was closely working with all stakeholders to achieve an efficient energy mix that will power the development of our dear nation Ghana, arguing that the need for sustainable, reliable, resilient and renewable energy as base-load is critical for the country’s development.

While acknowledging that the role of nuclear energy cannot be over emphasized, the Chief Director said what Ghana needed was adequate education of the public in this regard with the assurance that the Ministry of Energy as the parent ministry driving the nuclear energy development agenda, would continue to play a leadership role by contributing to the efforts of the RSA towards achieving the necessary education and awareness through strategically planning and mobilizing resources for the attainment of the country’s collective goal.

Ghana’s nuclear journey which began in the 1960s with the construction of the nuclear reactor was designed for experimental work in the field of nuclear and atomic physics. In addition to provision of nuclear power, it was to serve as a focal point for research works involving nuclear techniques in biology, agriculture, medicine, physics and chemistry.

In health, non-communicable diseases like cancers can be managed using the nuclear technology for both diagnosis (using CT, mammography, x-rays) for treatment.

There is currently a Cancer Control Strategy which comprises prevention, early detection (diagnosis and screening) treatment and palliative care. Currently, Ghana needs to increase the number of cancer treatment centers in Ghana.

The nuclear deal is the real green deal which would provide the needed energy for industrialization, job creation which would provide the needed energy for industrialization, job creation and dealing with the climate change.

The way forward therefore is for the research scientists association to also engage the public on the benefits of Ghana going nuclear.

 

“I am always Motivated when I enter Atomic Energy Commission” – Minister

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng has lauded the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) for consistency in technological developments.

The Minister made this comment at the 2019 edition of the Meet-the-Press Series for the Ministry of Environment Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI), held at the Ministry of Information, Accra.

According to him, he is motivated anytime he pays a working visit to GAEC to assess their progress of work.

He pointed out advances made by the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI) of GAEC in the use of the Gama Irradiation Facility (GIF), to process crops for shelf life extension as a way of reducing post-harvest losses. He also lauded the introduction of a new cassava variety by BNARI and added that it is a step towards the successful implementation of the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative, being championed by the Akufu-Addo government.

Deputy Director of BNARI, GAEC; Dr. Micheal Osae (right) briefs Information Minister, Kojo Opong Nkrumah (middle) and Minister for MESTI, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng(left) on the use of Biotechnology to boost Agriculture.

He assured that the mosquito sterilization project (Sterile Insect Technique) that aims at reducing the spread of malaria, being championed by GAEC, through the Radiation Entomology and Pest Management Centre of BNARI, would be revamped. He lamented that the project stalled due mainly to power and other challenges.

Prof. Boateng expressed joy at the rapid progress made by Ghana in line with International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) guidelines and regulations for citing a Nuclear Power Plant. He added that the nuclear power plant would add a substantial base load to the national grid to support industry.

GAEC Exhibition Stand

He commended the Nuclear Power Institute (NPI) of GAEC, the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organization (GNPPO) and Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG), among others for their tireless efforts.

Responding to questions concerning safety of encroachers on GAEC lands and how the situation could be curtailed to avoid a recurrence at the Nuclear Power Plant site, he cautioned the public to desist from encroaching on GAEC and other government properties. He revealed that those lands where left as buffer zones to protect the public and aid in the operations of GAEC.

He assured that appropriate steps would be put in place to ensure that the Nuclear Power Plant site will be secured against encroachment and any form of irregular activities.

By: Thykingdom Kudesey, Office of Corporate and Public Affairs, (OCPA) – GAEC