GAEC Trains Freight Forwarders on Radiation Protection and Safety

The Radiation Protection Institute (RPI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) is organizing a Radiation Protection and Safety Training Course for Radiation Protection Officers (RPOs) and some Qualified Operators/Staff of Genuine Group Logistics in Accra to ensure public and environmental radiation safety.

The core objective of the programme is to ensure that the participants understand basic radiation physics in their line of duty to forestall possible health hazards associated with ionizing radiation as well as radioactive substances.

The seven participants (second batch) who are mainly staff of Genuine Group Logistics are expected to carry out practical laboratory exercises as part of the one-week course.

The Manager of the Radiation Protection Training and Consultancy Centre of RPI, Dr. Stephen Inkoom, in a short ceremony to welcome the participants, stated that his outfit is responsible for the training of workers in various institutions such as medical, research, industry and among others whose operations cut across the use and transportation of radioactive materials.

He explained that the course is key for freight forwarders since they have a tendency of transporting radioactive substances or devices that may contain radioactive materials.  “Genuine Group Logistics are Logistics services providers in Takoradi – Ghana offering a wide range of logistics support services for companies and establishments in sectors such as oil and gas, maritime, mining and construction, banking and financial services, education, health, security services amongst others. So this training is a necessity considering their activities”, he stressed.

Dr. Inkoom explained that, the programme would equip the participants on the basic principles of radiation protection and how to apply them in their work environment. “The trainees would understand the national and international requirements for the control of ionizing radiation sources and also, emergency preparedness and response to abnormal situations involving the use of radioactive material”, he added.

He was confident that GAEC would continue to train more radiation workers in Ghana and Africa in order to ensure public and environmental safety to meet the standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

He finally called on the institutions to ensure that their occupationally exposed workers are well trained to handle all peaceful applications of ionizing radiation based on regulations by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA), Ghana.

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

Coming into Flower: How IAEA Support is Benefitting Ghana’s Floriculture Industry

Ghana and the IAEA have worked together for several years to develop national capacity in plant mutation breeding and tissue culture technology. Through its technical cooperation programme, the IAEA provided fellowships and scientific visits to build capacity, and also trained scientists in the skills needed to apply the technology in their fields of operation. This new capacity is now being used to strengthen Ghana’s flower growing industry.

The flower industry in Ghana is currently under-developed. Little research and development has been dedicated to the sector, and it faces challenges in the production and propagation of flowers. However, the industry has the potential to provide sustainable job opportunities that can reduce the high youth unemployment rate in Ghana, especially among university graduates.

“The flower industry is a highly-evolved market that contributes immensely to income and foreign exchange in most developed worlds,” said Abigail Tweneboah Asare, a research scientist and training facilitator. “However, it is an emerging industry in Ghana, with the potential to provide income and improve the livelihood of growers as well as provide foreign exchange for the country as a whole.”

In collaboration with the Ghana Flower Growers Association, the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has recently began to train flower growers in modern propagation techniques. The training seeks to transfer current propagation technology to the flower growers, and to encourage the growers to adopt tissue culture planting materials to enhance their productivity. The use of tissue culture techniques and other modern techniques can have a considerable impact on agricultural productivity.

“The Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute of the GAEC has several ways it could assist flower growers, especially in the application of tissue culture and mutation induction techniques for rapid propagation, multiplication and continuous supply of planting materials,” said Ms Asare. “Furthermore, through the use of mutation induction, flowers with different aesthetic features can be produced by the Institute to boost the flower industry.”
Ms Asare noted that government has plans to expand flower production in Ghana for both new and old export markets. “The application of tissue culture techniques is key to achieving this vision within a short period time,” she said.

The training of the flower growers also included records and book keeping, entrepreneurship, and social media marketing – all skills which will assist the flower growers to carry out their businesses effectively.