Nuclear energy for power production to begin 2029

Ghana can expect nuclear energy as a major source of power production by 2029, as plans are far advanced to ensure the country diversifies its energy mix to meet projected demands, a source at the Ministry of Energy has disclosed.

“Government is also looking at the nuclear option. There is so much work being done on that front; so hopefully by 2029 or thereabouts, it’s possible we may have energy from nuclear sources as well,” the source said.

Following attempts to diversify the country’s energy mix with the introduction of solar sources, government is exploring the contribution of nuclear energy – having set up a Nuclear Regulatory Authority to spearhead the implementation of Ghana’s Nuclear Power Programme (NPP).

Already, the country has passed all 19 infrastructural requirements to be considered for the commencement of an NPP, which is the first of three phases required by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before the development of a national infrastructure for nuclear power.

Speaking to the B&FT on the sidelines of a Petroleum Commission data management workshop in Accra, the source explained that as a result of increasing and projected demands on petroleum products to power our thermal plants for the provision of electricity, government is increasingly exploring alternate sources of energy to ensure that installed capacity is enough to meet peak demand at all times.

He added that the move will also avert reoccurrence of the power crises which hit the country between 2012 and 2016.

“Thermal and nuclear are both sources of generation, and the idea is that they need to complement each other. Our petroleum resources may need to be stepped-up otherwise we are going to have a decline in the production, so definitely government should have an alternative source of energy,” he said.

The source revealed that a lot has been done along with the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission to ensure the development of nuclear energy for power becomes a success.

Government, in its quest to find alternate sources of power, has already announced plans to scale-up the penetration of renewable energy in the system with a plan to hit 300megawatts of solar by 2020. For this reason, the Bui Power Authority has completed expansion works on its switchyard to accommodate 250MW of solar energy; a move which is in line with Ghana’s vision of increasing renewable energy to about 10 percent of the country’s energy-mix.

The exploration of nuclear energy as yet another alternative source fits perfectly in this agenda as traditional energy sources plateau, following projections from Ghana’s energy demands for the much-awaited ‘industrial revolution’.

With a possible contribution of about 1,200 megawatts per power plant, nuclear energy is therefore seen as a viable option in diversifying the country’s energy-mix to meet future demands.


GAEC Cautions Public over Dangers of Radon Gas Emissions

The Deputy Director of the Radiation Protection Institute (RPI) of GAEC, Dr. Joseph Amoako, has cautioned the public over the negative impact of Radon gas inhalation on human health.

Dr. Amoako, who spoke in an interview, described the situation as worrying since the public does not know of Radon gas and its potential devastating effects on human health.

He described Radon gas simply as naturally occurring gas found in rock and soils. These substances are capable of causing lung cancer and other degenerative diseases in humans.

According to him radon gas is mostly emitted from underground, especially through tiny invisible cracks in the floor of buildings. He stressed the need for a law that that ensures radon gas concentration tests on particular sites before buildings are put up.

Responding to questions on how it affects unsuspecting victims, he explained that the radon concentrations become very high in a room that has been locked up for hours without proper ventilation, especially at locations that may have high radon concentrations. “So it is advisable to open your doors and windows to allow natural ventilation to take place before you turn on the air-conditioners or funs”, he added.

He furthered explained that this practice can reduce the incidence of lung cancer and other infections attributed to the inhalation of radon gas.

Dr. Amoako stressed on the need for a national policy that regulates the monitoring of radon gas levels before buildings are put up at various locations across the country.

“Unlike other developed countries around the world, checking for Radon levels at building construction sites in Ghana is voluntary. It is compulsory for estate developers in other countries so Ghana must encourage it”, he added.

He called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scientific Institutions and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to work on a regulatory framework that will ensure that strict radon gas testing procedure is adhered to before building construction works begin.

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

Adopt Non Destructive Testing to avoid gas disasters – Atomic Energy to Industries

The National Nuclear Research Institute (NNRI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has called for the use of Non Destructive Testing (NDT) Technology in industry to avoid potential disasters.

Director of Institute, Dr. Gorman Ofosu said the solution to the incessant gas and fuel station explosions in the country to some extent lies with NDT technology.

Speaking at a forum last Wednesday at the Ghana Institute of Engineers and Planners in Accra to introduce NDT technology to some engineers and key industry stakeholders, he threw light on unprofessional practices in the sector.

According to him, most artisans especially welders are not privy to NDT technology to test the integrity of their welds which exposes the public to danger.

He disclosed that aside from outreach programmes organized by his outfit to educate field experts, GAEC’s Technology Transfer and Marketing Centre (TTMC) are also working to spread the word.

This is being done in collaboration with COTVET and support from the Dutch Government, is currently running a Competence Based Training Programme (CBT) for artisans in some professions including Welding, across the country with emphases on NDT Technology.

Dr Ofosu was confident that the risks associated with the conventional method will be reduced through consistent education of artisans and experts in the industry.

A former Deputy Director of NNRI-GAEC, Dr Kweku Aboagye Danso, said that NDT is a nuclear application used to detect hidden cracks and leakages in gas pipelines, fuel tanks, aircrafts and Mining installations among others.

According to him, the technology has a proven high level of efficiency for the early detection of leakages and corrosion in underground and surface pipelines. This, he said, will help avoid disasters as a result of leakages.

He advised that precautionary measures are taken to manage the situation since cracks and rust in tanks and pipelines are not easily identified.

A Senior Research Scientist, Dr Hannah Affum of GAEC also stated that the Commission is well positioned to meet the quality assurance and control as well as materials testing needs of Ghanaian processing and manufacturing industries.


GAEC Targets Major Improvements in Health and Agriculture

The five years Corporate Strategic Plan (CSP) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has targeted improvements in the Health and Agriculture sectors in Ghana.

The CSP that will be GAEC’s strategic operational document till December 2021 as part of it’s focused areas will facilitate the Establishment of Strategic National Facilities and Institutions.

The Director of Administration at GAEC, Mr. Felix Adeku in an interview disclosed that the commission would see to the building and supply of state-of-the art equipment for a Radiological Emergency Centre (REC) at GAEC as per the CSP’s objective. He added that the Commission would facilitate the construction of a Radiotherapy and Nuclear Imaging Facility at GAEC.

‘GAEC would also facilitate the building of two Radiotherapy centers in Tamale and Takoradi.’ He revealed. This he said would help give a major boost to the health sector of Ghana as far as the treatment of cancer and other related diseases are concerned.

Addressing some key challenges in Ghana’s Agriculture sector, Mr. Adeku disclosed that the Commission would enter into Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to establish a Gamma Irradiation Facility for food preservation against post-harvest losses. He added that the facility would also be used for sterilizing medical equipment in those key locations in Ghana

On his part, the Director General (DG) of GAEC Prof. Benjamin Nyarko is optimistic that the CSP will encourage the development and management of high-level human resource at all levels by providing training and education in nuclear and allied sciences for national development.

According to the DG, GAEC is in a process of upgrading the graduate School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences (SNAS) to a fully-fledged University to intensify training within the five-year period.

Finally, he appealed to the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to grant SNAS a presidential charter to enable it run as an autonomous University that undertakes Nuclear Science and Technology in Ghana.

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

GAEC Trains Ghana Air Force in Non- Destructive Testing (NDT) Technology

The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has equipped officers of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), (Air Force Division) with skills on Non – Destructive Testing (NDT) techniques to ensure quality in the discharge of their duties.

The training programme that was spearheaded by the GAEC Technology Transfer and Marketing Centre (TTMC) hosted ten (10) participants from the Armed Forces. It is part of a comprehensive approach to improve quality and reliability in the inspection of welded materials within the oil and gas, mining and manufacturing industries in Ghana.

Engineers, Managers, Supervisors, Quality Control administrators, Condition Monitoring Technicians, Engineering Technicians, and individuals who see to the maintenance of plants and equipment were the main targets for the programme.

Aside from officers from GAF, staff from Providence Industrial Services limited and other individuals were part of the 5 day intensive training programme.

The participants were taken through techniques including; Penetrant Testing, Magnetic Particle Testing, Alternative Ultrasonic Testing and Radiographic Testing.

The Director of the National Nuclear Research Institute (NNRI) of GAEC, Dr. Francis Gorman Ofosu, noted that the training programme was part of an agenda to improve quality service delivery as well as skills within the NDT industry nationwide.

He added that the training of engineers and technicians would soon be intensified across the country.

Dr. Ofosu advised engineers form the Air Force to take advantage of the knowledge acquired to do a thorough Non – Destructive Testing on their aircrafts before they take off.

Sharing his experience from the training programme, the leader of the trainees Squadron Leader Saah Ampene of the Ghana Air force expressed joy at the high level of knowledge acquired in NDT applications.

He advised that enough Public awareness be created through the media (electronic and print), to encourage the participation of all relevant industry players in the country.

He was confident that imparting this skill to the professionals will help transform Ghana’s engineering and welding sector.

The leader expressed gratitude to management and promised to return for more when the opportunity avails itself.

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