The Director of Administration at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Mr. Felix Adeku, has stated that the Commission’s Competent Based Training (CBT) Programme to equip informal sector workers is in line with the president’s vision for job creation.
The Director disclosed this in his address at the opening ceremony of the second edition of the CBT programme for vocational workers in the area of Electronics.
The progrmme is held in partnership with GAEC Technology Transfer and Marketing Centre (TTMC) and the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) with support from the German Government.
Speaking on some core functions of GAEC, Mr. Adeku stated that the Commission seeks to encourage and promote the commercialization of Research and Development (R&D) results through its institutes, with the help of the Technology Transfer and Marketing Centre (TTMC).
He added that the contract arrangement signed by GAEC and COTVET since October, 2017 requires that GAEC trains informal sector workers in the areas of Welding and Electronics to international standards.
He indicated that this initiative adopts market driven approach to science technology and research.
“We wish to assure learners of quality technical training to improve standards in the industry”, he said.
He advised participants not to hesitate to report issues that will mar the future of the programme for immediate redress. He added that the programme be taken seriously in order to reflect in their performance.
Mr. Isaac Boateng of the Ghana Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Voucher project advised participants to eschew absenteeism and laziness. This he said may affect negatively, the chances of the programme being funded in future due to bad report.
He was thankful to the Government of Ghana, the German Government and COTVET for introducing Ghana Training Voucher Programme (GTVP) to refine the skills of the informal sector workers.
He further advised the participants to take the programme seriously in order to transform the informal sector with the acquired knowledge.
By: Thykingdom Kudesey / Office of Corporate and Public Affairs (OCPA) – GAEC
A Senior Research Scientist at the Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute (RAMSRI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has disclosed that the death toll associated with Cancers in Ghana is on the rise due to inadequate information and improper management of these cancers.
Dr. Francis Hasford disclosed this in a lecture delivered at the monthly GAEC seminar series on the topic “Managing Cancer with radiation: is Ghana on Track?”
According to him, the rate of cancer incidence in Europe and other parts of the Western World is higher compared to Ghana, but usually records low deaths due to adequate information and effective management of the disease.
Speaking on Ghana’s situation with respect to cancer treatment, he disclosed that over 4 million people compete for one Radiotherapy machine nationwide, which he described as unfortunate. He added that the situation has mostly led to a frequent breakdown of the treatment facilities due to intense pressure.
“So far Ghana has only 3 Radiotherapy facilities for cancer treatment. One is situated at Korle bu Teaching Hospital and another at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital with one being a private facility”, he said.
Dr. Hasford who is also a lecturer at the Gradate School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences (SNAS), suggested that Ghana must adopt a national strategy for cancer management in order to control the situation.
Giving some statistics on cancer cases recorded in 2017, Dr. Hasford revealed that out of a total of 2,400 people who were diagnosed in Ghana, females recorded 65 percent, out of that number. Out of the total number of females, 36 percent were diagnosed with breast cancer cases. Consequently, the figure for Males stood at 35 percent, with 21 percent being cases of prostate cancer.
The Director of RAMSRI, Prof. Mary Boadu in an interview blamed the situation on inadequate public education. According to her, most cancer victims resort to herbalists who may not know their actual ailments for treatment, before they later report to the hospitals when their conditions have deteriorated. She added that the situation in most cases become unmanageable since it has gotten to its worst stage.
She further called for an equal measure of awareness-creation for cancer as it is with HIV and Malaria. Prof. Boadu finally advised the general public to make it a habit to go for cancer screening for possible early detection in order to help control the menace.
By: Thykingdom Kudesey / Office of Corporate and Public Affairs (OCPA) – GAEC
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Prof Frimpong Boateng has lauded the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), saying its expertise in Welding Technology is outstanding.
The Minister made this remark on Monday May 21, 2018 at a workshop organized by his outfit on the establishment of the Ghana Innovation and Research Commercialization (GIRC) Center which was held at the Alisa Hotel in Accra.
Prof. Frimpong Boateng noted that GAEC has performed creditably in the welding work done at the National Radio-astronomy Observatory at Kuntunse, a suburb of Accra and hence deserves commendation.
He mentioned that some specialists of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission had been trained in efficient welding technology in South Africa and was marveled at the work he saw at the National Radio-astronomy Observatory.
The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission however, has also been noted for its remarkable work on the fabrication of underground storage tanks and application of Non-Destructive Testing techniques for reputable companies like GOIL, Cummins Ghana Ltd, Micheletti Co. Ltd, etc.
He advised that a forum be organized for various crafts persons, associations and institutions whose main preoccupation is welding in order to address key challenges related to the profession.
Ms. Adelaide Asante, the Ag. Director of Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Directorate of the Ministry, also added that the Government of Ghana has taken an initiative to train welders in the informal sector in Competence Based Training which the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission is a Training Provider.
She urged all welding associations to grab this opportunity to train their members for certification and also for institutions capable of undertaking this project to register with COTVET to aid the Government of Ghana train more people in the informal sector.
By: Adjei Edmond Boahen, Technology Transfer and Marketing Centre (TTMC) – GAEC
Bogged by projected declines in traditional energy sources, Ghana is now banking its hopes on nuclear power plants (NPP) to help keep the recent strong investments in generation steady to meet national consumption needs and turn on new factories.
The growing appetite for nuclear power is to help avoid a repeat of a six decade old dilemma, when the influx of factories just after independence caused energy demand to outstrip supply, then resulting in the demise of most of the factories.
With plans afoot to build a factory each in the 254 districts nationwide, the Ministry of Energy forecasts that traditional energy generation resources – gas, petroleum and hydro-fired plants – will be inadequate, making nuclear the first port of call.
One nuclear power plant is capable of producing about 1,200 megawatts (MW) of power – slightly above a quarter of the national installed capacity of 4,674MW.
The Deputy Director of Nuclear and Alternative Energy at the Ministry of Energy, Dr Robert Sogbadji, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS that forecasts showed that the country will require base loads to meet its development aspirations.
“According to our gas master plan, our gas resources will be dwindling by 2027. We have exhausted our large hydros. Our mini hydros will only give us up to about 200MW to 300MW. Solar is intermittent supply and so it has its role to play.
“However, for industrilisation, we actually need base load generation such as nuclear, coal and gas base loads,” he said.
Although gas base loads look tenable, he said it was only “based on hope,” making it unreliable.
Speak to data
The Executive Director of the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Mr Benjamin Boakye, said it was not clear “what is informing nuclear at this point.”
Given that the Ministry of Energy plans to import “significant volumes of gas” in the coming years, Mr Boakye said the country needed to be sure that “it is not just adding on to generation.”
“We need to have a plan that speaks to data so that we are not just building cost into the electricity tariff because when you build plants and you do not have use for them, you ultimately have to pay for them,” he said.
Mr Boakye Agyarko — Ennergy Minister
Despite agreeing to go nuclear since 1964, Ghana is yet to sign a deal with any of the vending countries to start commercial installation for energy generation. This is mainly due to lack of political will and the general piecemeal approaches to the energy challenges that face the country.
It appears this is now becoming history.
Beyond being a sustainable alternative, Dr Sogbadji, who is also the Coordinator of the Ghana Nuclear programme, said the country’s interest in nuclear energy was also bolstered by its environmentally-friendly and cost efficient nature.
As a result, he said the ministry was working hard to seal a good deal on nuclear power soon to help make energy sustainable.
He explained that although coal-fired electricity was also an option to the dwindling traditional energy sources, Ghana’s status as a signatory to the Paris Accord means that it could not use “a generational source that will pollute the environment.”
“So with our situation, we do not have a choice but to go nuclear and to also take advantage of our subregion by exporting,” he said.
The Paris Accord is a United Nations’ backed convention that bounds signatory countries to a global effort to reduce global warming to well below two degrees Celsius.
Unlike NPP, which are virtually emission-free, experts say coal-fired power plants emit large quantities of mercury, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and lead, which are dangerous to humans, other living things and the environment in general.
PDA with ROSATOM
Since the 1960s, Russia has been a key ally to Ghana’s nuclear power agenda.
It was the vending country that advised the Kwame Nkrumah administration on the country’s nuclear power programme, which was thwarted in 1966, when his government was overthrown.
Dr Sogbadji explained that the government was close to signing a project development agreement (PDA) with the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) for formal discussions on a deal to start.
He said although the signing of the PDA had faced some challenges, both sides were committed to ensuring that such nitty-gritties were ironed out to allow for the process to continue.
Similar discussions are also ongoing with China as part of a grand strategy by the government to weigh the financial and technical expertise of the two vendor countries before arriving at a best option.
It is expected that the country will sign a deal to develop two plants with a combined capacity to produce some 2,400MW.
Each plant costs between US$5 billion to US$8 billion and take an average of six years to complete.
It is understood that the nuclear project would include a power plant and a nuclear technology centre.
Dr Sogbadji said the center will come with a bigger research reactor to build human resource for the plant, produce radioisotopes for medical applications, material testing and research into other nuclear application technologies, among others.
After more than five decades of back and forth movements on the production of energy from nuclear sources, Ghana is now inching closer to establishing two of its first nuclear power plants to augment national power supply from hydro, thermal and solar sources.
The Ministry of Energy and the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), which are coordinating activities towards realising the vision, estimate that the first two plants could be operational in the next five to six years, with the capacity to produce some 2,400 megawatts (MW) of electricity.
Each nuclear power plant would cost between US$5 and US$6 billion to establish, Professor Benjamin J. B. Nyarko, the Director General (DG) of the GAEC, and Dr Robert Sogbadji, the Deputy Director in charge of Nuclear and Alternative Energy at the Ministry of Energy, told the Daily Graphic in separate interviews in Sochi in Russia yesterday.
Prof. Nyarko and Dr Sogbadji spoke to the Daily Graphic after the opening ceremony of this year’s ATOMEXPO International Forum in Sochi.
Started in 2008, the annual event is organised by the State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) of Russia and brings together global experts and business executives with interest in nuclear and renewal energy.
On the theme: “Global partnerships – Joint success”, this year’s event is the 10th in the series, bringing together over 600 delegates from 68 countries.
Ghana’s delegation to the three-day conference is led by Mr William Owuraku, a Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of Power.
Prof. Nyarko and Dr Sogbadji explained that one important step in the country’s march towards producing energy from nuclear sources was the selection of a vendor country, which was also nearing completion.
For his part, Dr Sogbadji, who is also the Coordinator of the Ghana Nuclear Energy Programme, said after receiving dozens of proposals from nuclear vending countries around the world, the government had now zeroed in on China and Russia, as it continued the search for a suitable partner to help build the country’s first nuclear power plants.
He said a final decision on the vendor country was expected to be announced by the first quarter of next year, after which that country would then partner the government to start the construction of two plants by 2023.
The selected country is to, among other things, supply the nuclear reactors and other infrastructure needed to establish the two power plants.
The choice of a vendor country is an important milestone in Ghana’s march towards generating power from nuclear sources.
Despite commencing the process in the 1960s, the desire to produce energy from nuclear sources stalled over the years, largely due to lack of political commitment arising mainly from the negative publicity associated with nuclear energy around the world.
In recent years, however, significant progress has been made towards establishing the first plant.
Dr Sogbadji said the ministry was on the final lap of the first stage of its road map on nuclear energy production.
He explained that one key step in that lap was the choice of the vendor country, which had been ongoing for some time now.
He said although the country had received proposals from Japan, North and South Korea, among others, it had basically settled on Russia and China for strategic reasons.
“We are looking forward to the two countries to give us a comprehensive proposal, and then we can make a decision. For a newcomer country, you need a strategic partner to walk with and we do not want a project but a programme leading to a project,” he said.
“So the one who gives a good financial proposal and a good programme will be the one to choose. Also, these decisions are always more inter-governmental and so we the technical people and those on the ground may advise, but the sole decision will be based on a number of factors,” he added.
Explaining further, Prof. Nyarko said beyond the technical qualifications, the choice of a vendor country would be based on bilateral relationships and financing options.
“We are doing technology assessment and reactor type does not differ much. However, the government may decide on the financing option of each country or the bilateral relationship between the vendor country and Ghana,” he said.
Beyond choosing the vendor country, he said, one key step in the final lap of the first stage was the setting up or selection of an owner operator – a state enterprise that would own and operate the nuclear plants.
He said a memo was currently being prepared for the Cabinet to make the decision, after which the entity would then partner the vendor country to develop and operate the plant.
It is understood that the government is to choose between the Bui Power Authority (BPA) and the Volta River Authority (VRA) or set up an entirely new company to take up the role of owner operator.
While awaiting the choice of the owner operator, Prof. Nyarko said, the GAEC had already developed the needed human expertise which would be offloaded to the owner operator after it had been established or chosen.
Ghana’s nuclear energy programme is being supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
A successful generation of energy from nuclear sources will make Ghana the second country on the continent, after South Africa, to generate energy from that source.
Ghana’s first attempt at getting the international buy-in to generate power from nuclear energy started in the 1960s but was shelved following the overthrow of the government of Dr Kwame Nkrumah in 1966.
The move was, however, renewed in 2006 when the Cabinet adopted a proposal for Ghana to go nuclear. That led to the resumption of discussions between the GAEC and the Ministry of Energy, on one side, and the IAEA, on the other, on how the country should proceed to produce and commercialise nuclear energy.
Nuclear currently accounts for 11 per cent of the global energy supply.