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

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. KwabenaFrimpong 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.

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.

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.

 

 

Designation of an Acting Director General

As a consequence of the recent passing away of Director General Yukiya Amano, and in order to ensure the orderly and smooth functioning of the Agency, the Board of Governors has decided to designate Mr Cornel Feruta as acting Director General, until a Director General assumes office.

Source:iaea.org

Announcement

The Secretariat of the International Atomic Energy Agency regrets to inform with deepest sadness of the passing away of Director General Yukiya Amano.

The Secretariat wishes to share his most recent reflection which he intended to include in his letter to the Board of Governors announcing his decision to step down:

“During the past decade, the Agency delivered concrete results to achieve the objective of “Atoms for Peace and Development”, thanks to the support of Member States and the dedication of Agency staff. I am very proud of our achievements, and grateful to Member States and Agency staff.”

The IAEA flag will be lowered to half-mast.

Source:iaea.org

UCC Students Honor Ghana Atomic Energy Commission

Representatives of the Department of Laboratory Technology, University of Cape Coast (UCC), Ghana, presented a citation to the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) during their tour of GAEC facilities.

Augustine Atta, a Senior Research Assistant, who led the students said the gesture was in appreciation of GAEC’s Commitment to help build their practical knowledge and capacity in Laboratory Technology.

According to him, unlike other Institutes which rarely paid attention to their requests for visits, GAEC has constantly dedicated time and resources to educate them on their educational tours to the Commission.

“This is the time to show how grateful the entire UCC Department of Laboratory Technology staff and students are”, he added.

Presenting the citation on behalf of the students present (numbering about 80), Miss Juliana Amoah, another Senior Research Assistant of the Department, was hopeful that GAEC would offer more opportunities to their students to help in their practical knowledge.

She appealed to the Commission to consider more students from her Department for internship and possibly for employment if need be. She also thanked the authorities of GAEC for dedicating time and resources to them during their educational visits.

Receiving the citation on behalf of the Commission, James Kuofie a staff of the Human Resource Department, GAEC, expressed joy for the gesture. According to him the UCC Department of Laboratory Technology group is among the few who have shown gratitude towards GAEC’s immense support to Ghana’s educational sector.

He was optimistic that GAEC will continue to offer untiring support to students from all educational institutions and other stakeholders who knock at our doors.

The students spent the entire day touring key GAEC facilities to acquaint themselves with the activities of the Commission and learn some practical laboratory activities.

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

Atomic Energy Commission’s Anti Malaria Initiative Interrupted by ECG Power Cut – Prof Frimpong-Boateng

A five-year investment into a research initiative to breed anti-malaria mosquitoes by the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) was curtailed by the disconnection of electricity to the Commission by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) in 2015.

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, told the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) sitting on Monday that, the ECG cut off the power because of indebtedness, which killed all the mosquitoes and thwarted years of investment.

He explained that when the female Anopheles mosquitoes, which were nurtured at the radiation facility, mated with male mosquitoes, their offsprings would not have malaria parasites.

“I remember a few years back when the GAEC decided to go into the management of malaria. They (GAEC) had a laboratory and a radiator in which female Anopheles mosquitoes were kept.

“The idea of the research was that, we radiate them (the female mosquitoes). After the radiation experiment, we release them on the fields to mate with the males and their offsprings will not be able to transmit malaria.

“Just at the tale end of that experiment, the GAEC owed ECG and somebody was brave enough to go and turn off the light and kill all the mosquitoes. So we lost years of painful experiment. That is how they lost their investment”, he said.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng supported by the Director General of the GAEC, Prof Benjamin Nyarko, and other directors of the Commission were at PAC sitting to answer queries raised about the Commission and its affiliates in the 2016 Auditor General’s report.

Research Fund

Prof Frimpong-Boateng said the GAEC could be supported to carry out its research activities only when it received increased funding for research.

In that regard, he said the Cabinet had given approval for one per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to be dedicated to research.

He expressed the hope Parliament would approve the allocation of the one per cent of GDP to support research activities in the country.

Nuclear programme

Answering a question on the country’s plans to develop nuclear energy for power generation, Professor Frimpong-Boateng said Ghana was one of the third world countries with capacity to develop nuclear energy for power generation as the country had the needed capacity and laws on nuclear energy.

He said the country had gone through the first phase and was at the tale end of the second phase in the implementation of the nuclear programme.

“We have to go through a process outlined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). If there is any third world country that can do it, then it is Ghana. In terms of capacity, we have the School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences and the Nuclear Regulatory Agency. We have the necessary laws and training to be able to do that”, he said.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng said the Cabinet had released $300,000 to the Ministry for the determination of a site for the setting up of a nuclear reactor for power generation.

“They (the GAEC) have done some studies and they have three potential sites. The final determination will be made”, he said.

For his part, the Director General of the GAEC, Prof Benjamin Nyarko said the target was for Ghana to complete the development of its nuclear facility for power generation by 2029.

He said once the initial processes with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were completed, it would take between five to six years for the nuclear reactor facility to be developed.

Source: ghanaweb.com

Ghana hosts international workshop on Dish Conversion for radio astronomy

The Ghana Space Science Technology Institute (GSSTI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) on Monday, opened an international Dish Conversion workshop on the mobilisation of radio astronomy technology for economic development.

Professor Dickson Adomako, the Director of the Ghana Space Science Technology Institute, at the opening ceremony in Accra, said the workshop is the first of the four series to be hosted in Ghana, Mexico, Thailand and the United Kingdom respectively, with financial support from the Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF), a UK Agency.

These workshops, he explained, would gather experts to discuss and share requisite skills, experiences and knowledge in radio antennae conversion, telescope controls and receiver systems among others, for socio-economic development.

The week-long workshop in Ghana would create the platform for participants who are from Africa, Latin America, and Asia, to share engineering expertise on the topic, learn more from Ghana’s Dish Conversion experience, and further build networks to facilitate the onward sharing of knowledge and information after the programme.

Prof Adomako said he would provide countries who were yet to have a dish conversion with the needed knowledge and skills for adoption, and for those advanced in the use of the technology, to share their expertise with others.

The Director who later narrated Ghana’s Dish Conversion experience, said it has not been an easy journey to convert the 32 metre ex-telecommunication antenna at Kuntunse in Accra, into a radio telescope.

He said “we have had to deal with administrative and technical challenges,” but the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), GAEC, the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), the Royal Society-UK, the Development in Africa through Radio Astronomy (DARA), and other international institutions have been committed to assisting with efforts to make a the project a success.

The GSSTI together with its collaborators, he said, have since the conversion, intensified outreach programmes to attract young talents into astronomy and related fields, and have been using the converted facility for research and training purposes.

He thanked the GCRF for providing funding for the workshop, and also for its commitment to the course of developing global astronomy.

Prof Melvin Hoare, Chairman of the Science Organising Committee (SOC), said the benefits of radio astronomy were enormous as it provided accurate data and forecast information to drive socio-economic development.

He commended Ghana for the tremendous success made so far in its strides towards the development of radio astronomy, saying this would enhance science and research development across the continent.

Madam Patricia Appiagyei, the Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said Ghana was the first among the partner countries to achieve these milestones and acknowledged the continuous collaborative work between scientists and engineers from Ghana and their colleagues from other parts of the world, especially South Africa and the UK.

She also mentioned the GSSTI’s collaboration with various international organisations to organise workshops, conferences, summer schools and training programmes, as well as award scholarships to a number of Ghanaian Scientists,

Technologists and Engineers to pursue Postgraduate studies in Astronomy and related fields in South Africa and the UK in particular.

“These are all opportunities for Ghana to build valuable human capacity in astronomy and to harness the relevant skills in Science, Technology and Innovation for socio-economic development of the country, she said.

Madam Appiagyei said the funding support from SARAO, GCRF, DARA, Newton Fund and all the other international establishments have been very encouraging and commendable for the sustainability of the Project.

“Obviously, as a country and globally, we are in the right direction and committed to building critical infrastructure to ensure that we fully enjoy the benefits of astronomy and its associated science, Technology and Innovation,” she said.

She said currently, universities in Ghana were working on introducing programmes and courses in astronomy and related fields and there is the need to enhance the efforts to include the teaching and learning in the academic curriculum.

She urged the GSSTI and its stakeholders to work assiduously on the interventions to promote astronomy education, and develop programmes that would address the current national, regional and global needs, while the government through the Ministry does its best to support these efforts.

Prof Benjamin J. Nyarko, the Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, commended the GSSTI for its current level of achievement in the development of Astronomy, saying “I have observed with admiration the progress made with the execution of the astronomy projects and programmes in the country.

“I am enthused about what had been achieved and what is yet to come, I am therefore not surprised to witness such a global astronomy workshop in Ghana today,” he said.

He explained that since Ghana officially decided to join the astronomy and space science fraternity in less than a decade ago, a lot has been invested, and with the support of countries like South Africa and the United Kingdom this dream has become.

Prof. Nyarko said the debate that Science, Technology and Innovation was key to national development remains pertinent and has been the motivation to keep pushing the scientific research and innovation agenda.

He said it is the hope that very soon the country would fully enjoy the benefits of astronomical technologies and other spin off businesses, and encourage charge participants of the workshop to translate the enacting experiences and expertise into forms that would help develop not only astronomy, but other relevant sectors of the economies of their countries.

Source: GNA

Ghana’s nuclear power agenda on course- Phase II of project scheduled for Q1 2019

Ghana’s agenda to integrate nuclear power into its power generation mix is progressing steadily with the Ministry of Energy setting a target to fully activate the second phase of the project by the end of the first quarter of next year.

The first phase, which was primarily about making the decision to use nuclear power and meeting all the 19 infrastructural needs outlined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was fully addressed by the country as at April 2017.

The second phase, which includes implementation of the decisions made in phase one, is said to be progressing steadily, although it was yet to be fully activated.

The Deputy Director, Nuclear and Alternative Energy at Ministry of Energy, Dr Robert Bright Mawuko Sogbadji, made this known during an interaction with selected journalists in Accra on September 18 under the auspices of the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom).

He said the nuclear integration roadmap provided a timeline of between 2027 and 2030 to roll out nuclear and this has been incorporated into how the various phases would be rolled out.

“We were to start phase two by mid of this year, but what delayed was the establishment of the project office because you need the project office for the implementation of the phase two. Once it has been established, we can begin phase two.”

“By the end of first quarter next year, we should be beginning phase two. Phase two is the implementation of whatever we did in phase one. When you take phase one and we are looking at planning for security for instance, phase two will look at what exactly what we will do and how to implement that plan,” he said.

He explained that although Ghana had fulfilled some of the requirements, including the establishment a nuclear regulatory authority, more feasibility studies are being conducted to ensure a smooth transition.

He said the phase two will take between three to four years, while the phase three which will look at the construction of the plants will take between five and six years.

Candidate sites

Dr Sogbadji said the project office overseeing the nuclear rollout in Ghana comprised the Volta River Authority (VRA), the Bui Power Authority and the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) with an oversight responsibility by the Ministry of Energy. The project office is being hosted by the Bui Power Authority.

He said there were currently candidate sites for the nuclear power production, out of which the country will settle on four. As a result, the project office has been collecting data on these sites in the past months.

“Last month, the project office went to the field to add more data to the candidate sites. We did some preliminary studies two years ago to have candidate areas so the team went on the field to do extra work so that at least we can zoom in on four candidate sites.

“So far we have about eight which we are still trying to zoom in to four,” he said.

Source:graphic.com.gh

Senegal and France ink nuclear framework partnership agreement

The Senegalese Ministry of Higher Education has entered into an agreement with the French National Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology – Institut National des Sciences et Techniques Nucléaires, INSTN – to cooperate in establishing a centre of excellence in nuclear science and technology in the West African country, writes wnn. The nuclear cooperation agreement was signed by the director of INSTN Philippe Corréa for France and the minister of higher education, research and innovation Mary Teuw Niane for Senegal.

The agreement to collaborate on the nuclear science and technology project is anchored on three major objectives, reports wnn. First, it opens the peaceful atomic energy transfer door for France to support Senegal in the creation of an African Centre of Excellence in Nuclear Physics in close collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Second, it boosts Franco-Senegal’s bilateral nuclear science and technology cooperation and facilitates Senegal’s participation in the domestic development of teaching capability on a research reactor or a virtual reality teaching reactor. Third, and finally, the agreement seeks to support the development of training courses focused on nuclear health applications, particularly in the fight against cancer using external beam radiotherapy equipment.

The agreement has the potential benefit of contributing to human and institutional capacity building of the nuclear sector workforce in Senegal. To that end, the executive phase of the agreement could go down the line to create a distance learning platform for the training of Senegalese experts and students in nuclear science and technology. Through the remote education component, France could transfer knowledge and share best practices to promote national development and improve citizen wellbeing using nuclear applications in accordance with IAEA regulations.

Currently, the electricity supply in Senegal is produced from fossil fuels mainly. In early 2010, the government announced it was considering a nuclear power plant by about 2020. The decision was part of the government’s energy policy to diversify power generation sources in the country and to integrate Senegalese grid system with the West African Power Pool. In 2010, the energy minister was keen to establish an African Commission for Nuclear Energy with headquarters in Dakar, according to wnn. In the same year, France offered technical assistance in the nuclear field. A year later, the Senegalese president said that he had canceled plans for nuclear power. At the end of 2017, domestic electricity demand was only 550 MWe but is projected to grow at 7% per year.

The INSTN is a higher education institution founded in 1956 as part of the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) – le Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA). To that end, INSTN benefits from an exceptional research and development environment in the nuclear energy sector, as well as applications in the fields of health and radiation protection.

Eastern Chiefs Applaud Ghana’s Nuclear Power Efforts

The Eastern Regional house of Chiefs has applauded the progress made by the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organization (GNPPO) at meeting the objective of including nuclear power into Ghana’s electricity generation mix.

This was expressed when the Chiefs and the Regional Minister Hon. Eric Kwakye Darffour toured the Exhibition stand mounted by the Nuclear Power Institute (NPI) of the GNPPO at the Koforidua Jackson park, as part of activities to commemorate the maiden ‘Eastern Star Awards and Paramountcy Trade Expo’.

The four days event that was put together by the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, in collaboration with the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council and Onua 95.1fm, is to showcase the massive investment potential of the Eastern Region and also award natives and business entities that have brought notable development and job opportunities to the region.

The Gyasehene of Obo Kwahu, Nana Dr. Okra Baadu III who spoke in an interview was optimistic the vision of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah would be reactivated. He acknowledged the role of Nuclear power in socioeconomic development. According to him, China’s industrial transformation and rapid economic development is partly dependent on nuclear power.

He advised Ghanaians to adopt a high level of maintenance culture in order to meet the high standards required in the nuclear industry and to jealously guard the nuclear power plant after its commissioning. He also called on fellow Chiefs in other regions to rally support for the Nuclear Power Programme since it is one of the obvious paths to meeting the industrialization agenda of the country.

The Manager of the Public Relations and Information Centre of NPI, Mr. Elikem Kwaku Ahialey, who took the opportunity to brief the Regional Minister and the Chiefs on Ghana’s nuclear journey and the basic working principle of nuclear power plant, expressed joy at the opportunity to engage Easterners during the Exhibition.

He disclosed that, the nuclear power programme is about to fully enter its second phase even though some second phase requirements have already be achieved. “We are fortunate for the opportunity to meet and engage some chiefs, students, traders and other class of people in society on issues of nuclear power and Ghana’s nuclear power programme”, he added.

He commended the Chiefs and people of the Eastern Region for the initiative to showcase the potential of the Region and finally called on Ghanaians to remain positive and optimistic towards the nuclear power programme since it will, among many other benefits, be a catalyst for facilitating Ghana’s aspiration of becoming economically self sufficient.

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

Ghana Hosts Nigerian Nuclear Engineers on Reactor Core Conversion

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) organized a program that hosted a ten member team from Nigeria at the International Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) Training Facility (IMTF) in Accra, Ghana.

The Centre Manager of the Nuclear Reactors Research Centre (NRRC) under the National Nuclear Research Institute (NNRI), GAEC, Dr. Henry Cecil Odoi said the objective of the program was to train member states who operate MNSRs outside China to convert their Research Reactor fuels from Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) to Low Enriched Uranium (LEU).

According to him, efforts were initiated in 2006 to convert the Chinese-designed MNSR in Ghana from HEU to LEU fuel. ‘The Ghana Research Reactor -1 is the first of five such MNSR reactors outside of China to have been converted and the HEU core returned to China”.

He added that through a collaborative work between Ghana, USA, China and the IAEA, the HEU core was removed from the reactor in August 2016 and a new LEU core installed.

‘The Nigerian’s MNSR is the next to undergo conversion of the core and Ghana is hosting them for series of training sessions to help equip them with the requisite skills to carry out the activity’, he explained.

The head of the Nigerian team, Dr. Hamisu Abukari Admamu in an interview said, their research reactor which was commissioned in February, 2004 will be converted from HEU to LEU. According to him the training sessions will help them prepare for the conversion process.

He commended the efforts of the supervisors and facilitators for giving out their best to his team.

A specialist at the International Relations Department of the SOSNY R&D Company, Russia, Ms. Irina Shatalina, who together with her team offered technical training to the Nigerian personnel expressed satisfaction at the rate of progress made by the Nigerians so far.

She intimated that she was confident the Nigerians would be able to convert the core within the stipulated period at the end of all the training sessions without assistance. She also expressed gratitude to GAEC for the immense support given her and her team during the training sessions.

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