The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, has asked Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) to pursue the visions of its founder, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah to introduce nuclear power into the country?s energy mix.
Dr Joe Oteng Adjei, said it is sad that 50 years after Dr Nkrumah envisioned that power from hydro and nuclear would generate cheap and abundant energy for the rapid industrialisation of the country, the dream is yet to materialise.
He however commended the Commission for not failing the country in its mandate as the authorised state agency responsible for advising government on matters relating to the peaceful application of nuclear energy, science and technology as well as embarking on nuclear and allied research in the interest of the nation?s development.
Dr Oteng Adjei made this known in a keynote address at a durbar in Accra at the weekend to climax GAEC?s golden Jubilee celebrations, which was launched in April, on the theme: ?50 years of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission: Achievements, Challenges and Prospects.?
He said the Commission achievements spans agriculture where scientists have succeeded in developing disease resistant crop varieties such as cassava, yam and cocoa to ensure food security.
The Minister also cited the collaboration of GAEC and with Ministry of Health which culminated in the establishment of the two centres for Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine at Korle-Bu and the Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients.
GAEC is working on the establishment of a Nuclear Imaging Centre for early diagnosis of cancer to enhance early treatment thereby increasing the survival rate of patients.
Dr Oteng Adjei said the establishment of the Graduate School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences to provide specialised training for the youth in the critical area of nuclear and allied science is very strategic as it a recognised international Centre of Excellence.
?This is in perfect harmony with the Government?s dream of equipping the youth with greater scientific knowledge and means to give richer service to our people and the rest of Africa,? he said.
The Minister noted that with the current increasing international tensions regarding nuclear weapons programmes , frailty of the non-proliferation regime, stagnation in disarmament, and an upsetting rise in military spending, it is important that the Commission strengthens its communication strategies to educate and assure Ghanaians of the benefits of nuclear technology , build trust and eliminate the misconceptions about the word nuclear.
Dr Oteng Adjei said the Ministry believes that the stage had been set for the Nuclear Power project to be implemented in the foreseeable future by GAEC, as the importance of energy security to promote sustainable development and poverty alleviation cannot be overemphasised.
He however cautioned the public to desist from the encroachments of GAEC lands for safety and security reasons and announced that Government had earmarked funds in the 2014 budget for fencing the Commission?s land to prevent it from further infringement.
Professor Benjamin J. B Nyarko, Director-General of the GAEC said nuclear power should be introduced into the energy mix of Ghana to ensure rapid industrialisation.
He said the Commission is determined to play its role for the realisation of nuclear power by 2020.