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

Ghana hosts international workshop on Dish Conversion for radio astronomy

The Ghana Space Science Technology Institute (GSSTI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) on Monday, opened an international Dish Conversion workshop on the mobilisation of radio astronomy technology for economic development.

Professor Dickson Adomako, the Director of the Ghana Space Science Technology Institute, at the opening ceremony in Accra, said the workshop is the first of the four series to be hosted in Ghana, Mexico, Thailand and the United Kingdom respectively, with financial support from the Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF), a UK Agency.

These workshops, he explained, would gather experts to discuss and share requisite skills, experiences and knowledge in radio antennae conversion, telescope controls and receiver systems among others, for socio-economic development.

The week-long workshop in Ghana would create the platform for participants who are from Africa, Latin America, and Asia, to share engineering expertise on the topic, learn more from Ghana’s Dish Conversion experience, and further build networks to facilitate the onward sharing of knowledge and information after the programme.

Prof Adomako said he would provide countries who were yet to have a dish conversion with the needed knowledge and skills for adoption, and for those advanced in the use of the technology, to share their expertise with others.

The Director who later narrated Ghana’s Dish Conversion experience, said it has not been an easy journey to convert the 32 metre ex-telecommunication antenna at Kuntunse in Accra, into a radio telescope.

He said “we have had to deal with administrative and technical challenges,” but the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), GAEC, the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), the Royal Society-UK, the Development in Africa through Radio Astronomy (DARA), and other international institutions have been committed to assisting with efforts to make a the project a success.

The GSSTI together with its collaborators, he said, have since the conversion, intensified outreach programmes to attract young talents into astronomy and related fields, and have been using the converted facility for research and training purposes.

He thanked the GCRF for providing funding for the workshop, and also for its commitment to the course of developing global astronomy.

Prof Melvin Hoare, Chairman of the Science Organising Committee (SOC), said the benefits of radio astronomy were enormous as it provided accurate data and forecast information to drive socio-economic development.

He commended Ghana for the tremendous success made so far in its strides towards the development of radio astronomy, saying this would enhance science and research development across the continent.

Madam Patricia Appiagyei, the Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said Ghana was the first among the partner countries to achieve these milestones and acknowledged the continuous collaborative work between scientists and engineers from Ghana and their colleagues from other parts of the world, especially South Africa and the UK.

She also mentioned the GSSTI’s collaboration with various international organisations to organise workshops, conferences, summer schools and training programmes, as well as award scholarships to a number of Ghanaian Scientists,

Technologists and Engineers to pursue Postgraduate studies in Astronomy and related fields in South Africa and the UK in particular.

“These are all opportunities for Ghana to build valuable human capacity in astronomy and to harness the relevant skills in Science, Technology and Innovation for socio-economic development of the country, she said.

Madam Appiagyei said the funding support from SARAO, GCRF, DARA, Newton Fund and all the other international establishments have been very encouraging and commendable for the sustainability of the Project.

“Obviously, as a country and globally, we are in the right direction and committed to building critical infrastructure to ensure that we fully enjoy the benefits of astronomy and its associated science, Technology and Innovation,” she said.

She said currently, universities in Ghana were working on introducing programmes and courses in astronomy and related fields and there is the need to enhance the efforts to include the teaching and learning in the academic curriculum.

She urged the GSSTI and its stakeholders to work assiduously on the interventions to promote astronomy education, and develop programmes that would address the current national, regional and global needs, while the government through the Ministry does its best to support these efforts.

Prof Benjamin J. Nyarko, the Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, commended the GSSTI for its current level of achievement in the development of Astronomy, saying “I have observed with admiration the progress made with the execution of the astronomy projects and programmes in the country.

“I am enthused about what had been achieved and what is yet to come, I am therefore not surprised to witness such a global astronomy workshop in Ghana today,” he said.

He explained that since Ghana officially decided to join the astronomy and space science fraternity in less than a decade ago, a lot has been invested, and with the support of countries like South Africa and the United Kingdom this dream has become.

Prof. Nyarko said the debate that Science, Technology and Innovation was key to national development remains pertinent and has been the motivation to keep pushing the scientific research and innovation agenda.

He said it is the hope that very soon the country would fully enjoy the benefits of astronomical technologies and other spin off businesses, and encourage charge participants of the workshop to translate the enacting experiences and expertise into forms that would help develop not only astronomy, but other relevant sectors of the economies of their countries.

Source: GNA

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.

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IAEA Approves Nuclear, Cancer Treatment Reactor Projects for Nigeria

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has given Nigeria the go ahead to embark on five critical projects in nuclear power energy, cancer management, livestock production, governmental and regulatory infrastructure for nuclear and radiation safety and radiation oncology.

The projects due to commence in 2020, were approved under the Country Programme Framework document.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, made the announcement yesterday at the ministerial conference on nuclear science and technology in Vienna, Austria.

Onu, who led the Nigeria delegation, said the designs of these projects had been completed and submitted to the IAEA for review. Those on the delegation included, Permanent Secretary Political & Economic Affairs Office.

OSGF ,Gabriel Aduda, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Austria and Slovakia, Vivian Okeke, Chairman Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, Professor S.P Mallam and Director Renewable Energy, Ministry of Science and Technology, Abbas Gunmi.

Last month, both Nigeria and IAEA signed the Country Programme Framework document for 2018-2023 cycle at the 62nd Session of the IAEA General Conference also in Vienna.

Onu said the document identified the priority areas of Nigeria’s partnership with the agency in a clear and practical fashion. The signing of the document is a precursor to the commencement of additional national projects under the 2020-2021 Technical Cooperation Cycle and beyond.

The minister disclosed that Nigeria’s arrangements towards the acquisition of a multi-purpose research reactor had reached an advanced stage, expressing hope that the acquisition will contribute to several developmental activities in the country in the provision of radiopharmaceuticals to support cancer diagnosis and treatment and research and training.

“Nigeria believes that steady electricity is a key element in the development of any nation. On this premise, Nigeria’s quest for the generation of electricity from nuclear resources cannot come at a better time especially with the dwindling of other energy resources and global efforts at mitigating climate change through the use of environmentally friendly technologies including nuclear. Meticulous planning and discussions are already ongoing towards Nigeria’s acquisition of her first nuclear power plant,” Onu said.

He expressed optimism that Nigeria’s Research Reactor, which was commissioned in 2004 with enriched uranium, will reach full power this week.

He said the reactor had proved very useful in mineral exploration and processing and the agricultural sector in soil fertility analysis, was recently successfully converted from the use of HEU to LEU attaining criticality early this month.

He also expressed Nigeria appreciation to IAEA in the provision of facilities and training of the needed manpower for the diagnosis and management of cancer in country.

He said the IAEA led training programmes had produced many qualified Nuclear Medicine Physicians, Radiation Oncologists, Radiographers, Medical Physicists and numerous other relevant professionals that are spread across the tertiary health institutions in the country.

Source: thisdaylive.com