Plans are underway for the incorporation of radiation and nuclear science into the curriculum of basic schools as part of broader measures to deepen understanding of the subject to shape public perception.
This follows a perception survey conducted by the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research, which showed that there was very little knowledge about radiation science or nuclear science and technology.
Ghana is working towards building and operating its first nuclear power plant to support the country’s industrialisation agenda and public perception about nuclear is critical to the successful implementation of the project.
Dr Archibold Buah-Kwofie, Deputy Director, Nuclear Power Institute, told the Ghana News Agency at a workshop for editors and senior media professionals in Accra.
He said it was important to bridge the knowledge gap on nuclear science as the country took steps to add nuclear to its energy portfolio.
He said a draft curriculum had been developed and engagements with the Education Ministry were ongoing to include the subject in the curriculum.
“It is useful to include nuclear at the level of basic education so that people coming out of basic education will have some level of knowledge about what radiation signs is.
“A lot of people don’t know that the X-Ray we take at the hospital is radiation. There are a lot of important uses of radiation that we need to know and understand,” Dr Buah-Kwofie said.
He added: “If we are going to be a nuclear country, we need to ensure that we have a sustainable supply of human resource and the earlier they understand the uses of radiation and what we can get out of them, the better.”
Dr Buah-Kwofie said the Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG) had also signed partnerships with some tertiary institutions, including the University of Media, Arts and Communication, Ho Technical University, and Takoradi Technical University, to roll out general basic nuclear radiation signs in their programmes.
Dr Stephen Yamoah, the Executive Director, NPG, urged journalists to be accurate, factual, and use verified information in their reportage on nuclear to prevent misinformation on the subject.
“The discussions on nuclear power should emphasise its immense transformational socio-economic benefits, while also addressing concerns related to safety, waste management, security, and safeguards,” he said.
Ghana’s nuclear programme has been justified on the need for alternate baseload power for industrialisation, limited hydro sources, postulated decline of gas, tariff reduction for industries, desalination, employment creation and climate change commitments.
As of 2021, hydro accounted for 38 per cent of the country’s energy generation portfolio whiles thermal accounted for 60 per cent (making it the baseload).
Solar and biomas contributed one per cent each to the energy mix.
Experts have raised concerns about the cost of power from thermal sources and there are fears that electricity prices may continue to go up if the country did not adopt cheaper energy sources.
It is estimated that 40 per cent of the production cost of industries goes into electricity tariffs.