Ghana Far Away From Major Earthquake Zones – Engineer

Dr. Paulina Amponsah, Manager of National Data Centre, GAEC.


An engineer with the National Data Centre of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has said that the Earthquakes Ghana continues to experience is caused by movement along fault lines, known as Intraplate Earthquakes.

Dr. Paulina Amponsah said this when she delivered a presentation on the history, causes and effects of Earthquakes in Ghana and suggested recommendations on how to prevent and reduce the risks associated with Earthquakes in the country.

The program was put together by the Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE) on Thursday at the Engineers Centre, Roman Ridge, Accra to discuss the recent Earthquakes in Accra.

Giving the history of Earthquakes in Ghana, Dr. Paulina Amponsah said, “Ghana is far away from the major Earthquake zones of the World, however, the country is seismically active and therefore prone to earthquake disasters”.

She narrated that the first earthquake recorded in Ghana was in 1615 and the event was located in Elmina, where a fortress was destroyed. In 1636, an earthquake of magnitude 5.7 struck the country at Axim, where some miners were buried alive.

In 1862, another earthquake struck the country in Accra with a magnitude of 6.5, in which 3 people were killed and destroyed many structures.

According to Dr. Amponsah, a severe earthquake struck the country in 1906, 1939, 1964, 1969, 1997 and 2003.

She added that recently, earth tremors have been recorded on March 24, 2018, December 9, 2018, January 2019, February 2019 and the most recent one occurred on March 2, 2019. She said all these tremors recorded a magnitude less than 4.

The discussion revealed that residents of Kasoa, Awutu-Senya, Weija-Gbawe, McCarthy Hills, Adenta and other areas located near the intersection of the two major faults zones in the country, namely, the Akwapim fault zone and the Coastal boundary fault zone are prone to Seismic activities, hence earthquake is high in occurrence.

She recommended that for our country to be resilient to earthquake disasters, we must be proactive in our planning process both local and national levels.

Another speaker for the day, Ing. Dr. Nii Allotey, also suggested that a serious national decision to make on earthquake disaster is “CHANGE”. “Many countries have learned their lessons the hard way. A country puts earthquake mitigation aside at its own peril”, he added.
Michael Obeng-Konadu, who also spoke on the human elements in earthquakes also stressed that the anthropogenic activities that increase earthquakes effects include poorly engineered buildings on steep slopes, sand winning activities and rock quarrying including the use of explosives at the base of slopes, farming activities at base of slopes, obstruction of natural drainage and absence of properly designed slope protection measures in populated hill-site areas.

On her part, the Past President of GhIE, who is the current President-elect for Federation of African Engineering Organization (FAEO), Carlien Bou-Chedid suggested that the country puts a deliberate plan to ensure that all public buildings are retrofitted to be able to stand earthquake and tremors.

She advised the public that in the event of an earthquake, they should remain calm, drop down, take cover, as soon as the ground shaking stops, leave the buildings and stay out in the opens and not immediately return to buildings because there could be aftershocks.

Giving the closing remarks, the Executive Director of GhIE, Kwabena Agyei Agyepong called on Municipal, District Assemblies and Departments responsible for permits to build to ensure the right professionals are consulted to minimize the risks and damages that earthquakes and tremors cause in the country.

Present at the program included the President of GhIE, Alexander Leslie Ayeh, Council members of GhIE, Past Presidents of GhIE, members from sister professional bodies, Fire Service, NADMO and the media.


GAEC Partners SDF to Train Professionals in Radiation Safety

The Radiation Protection Institute (RPI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) with support from the Skills Development Fund (SDF) Ghana, has carried out a 3-day radiation safety-training programme for selected Radiofrequency professionals in the telecommunication industry.

The core objective of the course was to implement radiation training and certification modules to effectively protect humans and the environment from radiation hazards.

Speaking at a ceremony held at the RPI conference room in Accra Ghana, to officially open the training programme, and welcome all participants selected from private and government institutions, the Deputy Director General of GAEC, Prof. Shiloh Osae, stressed on the need to ensure safety especially in the radiation industry

Prof. Shiloh took his time to educate all the participants on GAEC’s core activities and their impact on national development. He urged them to erase all their erroneous perceptions about GAEC being a manufacturer of bombs and spread the word about the cutting edge science going on. He added that the commission’s research activities provide solutions to many sectors of the Ghanaian economy.

In a short address to the participants, the Deputy Director of RPI, Dr. Joseph Kwabena Amoako, disclosed that the goal of the programme is to collaborate with local and international experts to develop an internationally recognized competency-based curriculum to train professionals involved in the use of radiation.

He added that the initiative is also to train industry players to avoid potentially hazardous exposures to radiation from radioactive sources and Radiofrequency (RF) fields. “This will ensure that certified trainees can use the internationally recognized certification anywhere”, he disclosed.

The participants were taken through various subjects including Radio Frequency (RF) Site Safety, Types of RF Radiation, Introduction to Antennas and RF sources and Radiation Safety Assessment. Other areas covered include RF Safety Regulations and Standards.

The initial beneficiaries of the programme include selected officers from the Signal Unit of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), The National Communication Authority, Vodafone Ghana Limited, Helios Towers Ghana Limited and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC).

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

“Africa Cannot Afford a Nuclear Accident” – Director- General, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission

The Director General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Prof B.J.B. Nyarko has called for maximum attention on Safety, Security and Safeguards in the use of Nuclear Technology in Africa.

Prof. Nyarko made the call in a ceremony held at the Graduate School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences (SNAS), GAEC, in Accra Ghana, to welcome the 8thbatch of the annual Post Graduate Education Course (PGEC) in Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources for participants from English speaking African countries, under the African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA)

The participants, numbering 22 comprising eight females and 14 males were selected from countries including Ghana, Egypt, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Botswana, Libya, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Namibia and South Africa.

According to Prof Nyarko, safety issues in Africa are unique due to the negative connotations associated with accidents. He stated that accidents in Africa are usually blamed on incompetence, lack of technical know-how as well as inadequate capacity building programmes, whereas similar accidents by countries in other regions are usually treated as genuine faults.

“This puts Africa in a unique position to work harder to avoid these accidents”, he said.

The programme according to him was developed under the regional corporative framework for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology to tackle areas such as Health, Agriculture and Environment as well as Safety and Security, especially for countries embarking on Nuclear Power Programmes.

He stressed on the need to avoid making mistakes in nuclear applications in order to place Africa in a positive light. He advised the participants to take their lessons seriously so as to achieve the desired standards in safety, security, and safeguards as well as peaceful applications of Nuclear Technology in Africa.

“You cannot do the same thing always and expect a different result, you need to change and have better ways of doing those things to achieve the required results”, he said.

He commended the AFRA Technical Cooperation (TC) member states for committing a total of four hundred thousand Euros (€ 400,000) to sponsor beneficiaries from within the African Sub-region.

The Director and Dean for the Graduate School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences (SNAS) Prof. Yaw Serfor- Armah, in his address, entreated the students to strictly adhere to the safety regulations by the school.

He finally welcomed them and advised that they take full advantage to this glorious opportunity given them and take their training programme seriously.

The five months training programme commenced on 1st April, 2019 and scheduled to end 23rd August 2019.

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

The Future of Agriculture in Ghana

Picture: Dr Kwamina Banson (middle, with black shirt) explains a point to two farmers working at the demonstration fields.


Food. It’s the most basic of human needs and two doctors from Ghana, who earned their PhDs while studying in Australia, are working to address the critical issue of food productivity.

Dr Kwamina Banson and Dr Andrew Appiah are revolutionising how technology can address hunger and food nutrition in their home country. In doing so, they’re supporting the world’s goal to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture (United Nations, Sustainable Development Goal 2).

Through their work at the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI) with the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), the doctors are applying science on several fronts, including to improve plant variability, combat pests and diseases, increase production and safeguard food safety and authenticity.

The work is challenging since many who live in Ghana depend on traditional or linear approaches to farming.

Dr Banson, with his Doctor of Philosophy (Business) from the University of Adelaide, is tackling this through his advanced understanding of a ‘systems-thinking approach’. Applying a holistic perspective, Dr Banson, Head of Technology Transfer at BNARI, is identifying factors and processes that shape and constrain traditional farming systems. He is also developing solutions to enhance productivity and make farming sustainable.

“My interventions attempt to increase genetic variability of plants that are resistant to vector or disease, thereby increasing their value,” Dr Banson says.

On a separate but connected project, Dr Appiah, Plant Virologist at BNARI, is identifying the root causes of decreased food production. The skills on plant disease diagnostics he gained while earning his Doctor of Philosophy (Agricultural Science, major in plant virology) from the University of Tasmania, have been critical to this work.

“I use technology to effectively screen peanuts for resistance and have introduced four resistant varieties to farmers,” says Dr Appiah, who is also screening dozens of variants of cassava and pepper to identify resistant strains.

With Africa’s population projected to hit 1.7 billion people by 2030 (United Nations), investing in innovative technologies and practices, such as those practised by Dr Banson and Dr Appiah, are going a long way in boosting food production and strengthening Ghana’s ability to achieve food security.

The doctors have received considerable support for their catalytic initiatives. The GAEC, for example, has provided them with 200 acres of land as demonstration fields. The land is being used by 200 farmers to grow new high-yielding strains of cocoa and cassava. Another 300 farmers are hiring or using their land as demonstration farms to grow seeds supplied by Dr Banson and Dr Appiah.

Initiatives like these will take the world a long way to achieving a better and more sustainable future for all.


UCC Students Honor Ghana Atomic Energy Commission

Representatives of the Department of Laboratory Technology, University of Cape Coast (UCC), Ghana, presented a citation to the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) during their tour of GAEC facilities.

Augustine Atta, a Senior Research Assistant, who led the students said the gesture was in appreciation of GAEC’s Commitment to help build their practical knowledge and capacity in Laboratory Technology.

According to him, unlike other Institutes which rarely paid attention to their requests for visits, GAEC has constantly dedicated time and resources to educate them on their educational tours to the Commission.

“This is the time to show how grateful the entire UCC Department of Laboratory Technology staff and students are”, he added.

Presenting the citation on behalf of the students present (numbering about 80), Miss Juliana Amoah, another Senior Research Assistant of the Department, was hopeful that GAEC would offer more opportunities to their students to help in their practical knowledge.

She appealed to the Commission to consider more students from her Department for internship and possibly for employment if need be. She also thanked the authorities of GAEC for dedicating time and resources to them during their educational visits.

Receiving the citation on behalf of the Commission, James Kuofie a staff of the Human Resource Department, GAEC, expressed joy for the gesture. According to him the UCC Department of Laboratory Technology group is among the few who have shown gratitude towards GAEC’s immense support to Ghana’s educational sector.

He was optimistic that GAEC will continue to offer untiring support to students from all educational institutions and other stakeholders who knock at our doors.

The students spent the entire day touring key GAEC facilities to acquaint themselves with the activities of the Commission and learn some practical laboratory activities.

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