Ghana Embarks On Nuclear Power Project

The Ghana Nuclear Regulatory Bill has been passed and is awaiting the President's assent.

The objectives of the Bill are to establish the Ghana Nuclear Regulatory Authority with clear functions and responsibilities and to provide for the beneficial and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Parliament has also, in February, this year, ratified some relevant international conventions, such as the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency and the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage.

The Minister for the Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr Mahama Ayariga, made these known when he took his turn at the Meet-The-Press series in Accra, yesterday.

Mr Ayariga disclosed that the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), through the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), under the Nuclear Power Project, had also signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the State Atomic Energy Corporation of the Federation of Russia (ROSATOM) for the construction of a Nuclear Power Plant in Ghana.

Under the agreement, he said, the Plant would have Russian design power units 1000- 1,200 MW in line with the ROSATOM comprehensive proposal while staff will be trained, nuclear infrastructure established and product and service life supplied.

He said to ensure the safe disposal of nuclear waste generated in the country so that people, environment and property were kept safe, a set of draft of Radioactive Waste Management Regulations and a Radioactive Waste Management Policy and Strategy had also been developed.

Mr Ayariga disclosed that in order to increase the shelf life of farm produce for exports, GAEC through the Technology Transfer and Marketing Centre, had endorsed collaboration with the Ministry of Trade to use Gamma Irradiation Facility to have products and goods irradiated and improve trade in Ghana.

To that effect, he said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) had been signed with the Federation of Associations of Exporters and the Ghana Health Service for sterilisation of medical equipment.

On nuclear safety monitoring, Mr Ayariga said, about 1,593 radiation workers --in hospitals, mines, oil and gas sector, research and education-- among others, were being monitored for radiation exposure, inspections and enforcements requirements under LI 1559 of 1993 being carried out while training for operators of nuclear facilities on nuclear safety culture were ongoing.

Furthermore, he said, Nuclear Security Infrastructure was being upgraded at the various nuclear facilities such as Radiotherapy Centres at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) and the Takoradi, and Tema ports to counter malicious intent while nuclear security training was being given to the national security agencies like Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS).

He said the Graduate School of Nuclear & Allied Sciences (SNAS) continued to be the designated Centre for Nuclear Science education in Africa and that Ghana was currently hosting the African Network for Education in Science and Technology (AFRA-NEST), an ICT for web-based education and training for Human Resource Development (HRD) and Nuclear Knowledge Management (NKM).

Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)