Atomic Energy Commission inaugurates radon monitoring laboratory

The Radiation Protection Institute (RPI), through the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), has inaugurated a Radon laboratory with a state-of-the-art Radosys Radometer 2000 equipment for research, training and routine monitoring.

Madam Patricia Appiagyei, Deputy Minister of MESTI (left), Prof. B.J.B Nyarko Director General of GAEC together with some dignitaries commissioning the Radon Monitoring Lab.

The laboratory, which is the first of its kind in Africa is a collaborative effort between the GAEC and the Regional Agency for Radiation Protection in Ivrea, Piemonte and Udine, FVG, all in Italy.

Madam Patricia Appiagyei, the Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), at the inauguration in Accra on Tuesday, said Radon was a naturally-occurring radioactive gas, which emanated from the decay of uranium over a period of time, and existed in the atmosphere in small amount.

She said although it cannot be smelled, seen or tasted, radon presented considerable health consequences, especially when trapped indoors in places including; homes, schools and workplaces, and breathing in over a period of time, increases one’s risk to lung cancer, which was the number one cause of related deaths among non-smokers globally

Madam Appiagyei said in many developing countries including; Ghana, activities leading to the exposure of radon and other decay products in the environment were extensively investigated and subjected to regulatory control as a result of lack of appropriate equipment to meet research standards in the area of natural radioactivity.

She said data on radon concentration in local and processed materials, residues and wastes, as well as in buildings, and exposure of the population were scanty, leading to a general lack of knowledge and awareness of the hazards by the public including; legislators, regulators, operators and decision makers.

She stressed the importance of the health and well-being of Ghanaians in the achievement of sustainable development, and said the effective way to determine the risk of exposure to radon gas was by measuring the levels in dwelling and workplaces, and improving ventilation systems of buildings in order to increase the rate of air exchange.

However, “considering the type of the buildings being developed in Ghana lately, that incorporate modern architecture such as aluminum and glass doors and windows, with increasing use of air conditioners, which kept majority of these indoor environment air-tight from natural ventilation, the radon gas can accumulate over a period of time,” she said.

Madam Appiagyei commended the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Italian partners and Radosys of Portugal, through whose guidance and technical support, the GAEC have been able to acquire the facility.

She urged the RPI and other key stakeholders to continue with interventions to promote public, occupational and environmental radiation health safety and also develop programmes that were directly related to the present national, regional and global development needs.

Professor Benjamin Jabez B. Nyarko, the Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Nyarko said the facility would ensure more accurate measurements and establishment of standards, improving research, training, and technical services in the area of radiation protection and safety at GAEC, help in creating public awareness about the harmful effects of ironising radiation and radon in particular.

He was hopeful that the new facility would aid in acquiring data, that would be important in formulating guidelines for radon exposure mapping and strategy for the control of radiation exposure in Ghana, and create a pragmatic focus to multidisciplinary research that would help the RPI to attract new research collaboration and external funding.

Again, data on radon could be used for studying seismic activities to predict earthquake occurrence and exploring for uranium resources, and further, for determining movement of Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere in relation to climate change, he said.

Prof. Nyarko said the facility would complement the Institute’s effort in training scientists both in GAEC and others from institutions of higher learning who were engaged in radiological health and safety issues, by providing them with the needed skills to carry out measurement, analysis and interpretation of Radon and Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM).

“Students, researchers and others will also have the unique opportunity to explore areas that extend beyond their boundaries of conventional academics within their faculties,” and urged the Institute as it intensifies research and training in radiation protection to cover homes and workplaces, chemical waste and the extractive industries in particular the mining, oil and gas sectors.

Mr Paulo Pinto, the Managing Partner, of Radosys, Atlantic of Portugal, who did the installation of the equipment and staff training, testified to the high standard of the facility, and appreciated the collaboration with GAEC.

 

Source: GNA

 

Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia Commissions 3 Research Facilities at GAEC

Vice President of Ghana Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has on Tuesday, July 30 commissioned three Research Facilities at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC).

This includes the Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Research Reactor Facility, the International Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) Training Facility, and the Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute (RAMSRI) Laboratories.

Dr. Bawumia’s presence has entered history books as the first Ghanaian Vice President to visit the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission since its establishment in 1963.

More to follow soon…

Radiological and Medical Sceinces Research Institute Laboritories (RAMSRI)

LEU Research Reactor Facility and the International MNSR Training Facility

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia Tours Exhibition Stands 

 

 

 

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano dies at 72

The head of the global nuclear watchdog, Yukiya Amano, has died at the age of 72, the agency announced.

He has led the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since 2009, and was due to step down in March because of an unspecified illness.

During his tenure he had overseen a period of tense negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear programme.

It is not yet clear who will succeed him, though discussions over his replacement began last week.

The Japanese national had taken over from Mohamed ElBaradei a decade ago and his third term was due to run until November 2021.

However, Amano appeared increasingly frail after undergoing an unspecified medical procedure in September.

“The Secretariat of the International Atomic Energy Agency regrets to inform with deepest sadness of the passing away of Director General Yukiya Amano,” the IAEA statement said.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini spoke of her sadness at Amano’s passing.

“A man of extraordinary dedication & professionalism, always at the service of the global community in the most impartial way. I’ll never forget the work done together. It has been for me a great pleasure & privilege working with him,” she tweeted.

The agency said the flag over its head office in Vienna had been lowered to half-mast.

Source:bbc.com

African Scientific Renaissance Day Marked in Accra

This year’s African Scientific Renaissance Day was on Friday marked in Accra with a call on African scientists to pool resources to help address the continent’s agriculture challenges.

Professor Kwabena Frempong-Boateng, Minister of Environmental, Science, Technology, and Innovation, who made the call said the continent could feed itself if the scientists took decisive decisions to adopt science and technology in agriculture application as done in other parts of the world.

“The sad truth is that most African countries are not doing well in agriculture, and this sad state of affairs has everything to do with the deficits that Africa exhibits in engineering, technology, and innovation, that is why the scientists must come together and propose individual country needs to produce enough food to feed their people with the most precious arable land at its disposal”.

June 30 has been set aside by the African Union as the African Scientific Renaissance Day for the continent to reflect on the contribution of the continent’s scientists to the development of modern science and technology.

The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) organised the event on the theme: “Transforming agriculture towards Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda: The role of science, technology, and innovation.”

Topics discussed included Planting for Food and Jobs: The role of nuclear technologies, and local science and technology solutions for value additions to Ghana’s agro products.

The minister who lamented the slow pace of the continent’s agriculture revolution said it was only in Africa that the “Green Revolution has not taken place”.

“All human activities are driven by technology because it has the enviable track record of providing solutions to humanity’s challenges, whether on transportation, health, sanitation, water resources, security, defense, energy and any area of socio-economic activity,” he added.

Professor Frempong-Boateng noted that the application of Science and Technology and Innovation (STI) in agriculture was critical in an era where arable land is under assault from climate change, forest degradation, and population growth.

He stated that man had survived hunger in the face of rapid population growth as a result of advancement in STI and its adoption would produce enough food to feed the increasing population.

It was to address these challenges, he explained, that the Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda was underpinned by the desire and commitment to manage the country’s natural resources in a manner that allowed financing of the development agenda without recourse to external assistance.

“The time has come for all African scientists to support the continent’s vision to reduce food imports, create job for all the people especially the youth, expand and improve upon current resources through the deployment of science and technology to provide the needs of their people,” he said.

The Director General of GAEC, Prof Benjamin J.B. Nyarko, said the day which formed part of the African Regional Corporative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology, (AFRA) would help African countries to use modern technology to transform the agriculture sector, since the livelihood of many African countries depended on increased food production.

The Director General said the issues of the entire value chain in the agriculture sector needed to be effectively managed towards adopting modern techniques in the sector.

Prof. Nyarko said GAEC had developed new species of crops, tissue culture, and shelf life extension using ‘Gamma Irradiation Facility,’ the control of pests and diseases, as well as fruit flies using cutting edge research solutions.

He commended the government for adopting the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, which he said, would create job opportunities for the youth.

Source:Ghanaian Times

GAEC Inaugurates 5th Competency Based Training COTVET Programme

The Deputy Director General of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Prof. Shiloh Osae, on Tuesday June 4, 2019 welcomed the 5th batch of informal sector apprentices to undergo a Competency Based Training (CBT) programme in Consumer Electronics at GAEC.

The training programme is jointly sponsored by the Germany Government through the Ghana Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Voucher Project (GTVP) and Council for Technical and Vocational Education (COTVET) in partnership with GAEC.

In his welcome address, Prof. Osae, assured the learners that GAEC is not a bomb manufacturing organization, but a government agency involved with the use of nuclear technology for the socio-economic development of Ghana.

He enumerated the various specialty areas available in GAEC including; Agriculture, Health, Space Science, Nuclear Power, specialized Research areas, Industrial applications, among others. “Our Scientists here work tirelessly to bring about new crop varieties, new ways of treating diseases, testing for water quality, environmental issues, the list is endless”, he added.

Prof. Osae was optimistic that the learners will take their studies seriously. “If you are able to complete the various courses and modules, you will obtain certificates that will enable you have job opportunities in big organizations. The consumer electronics industry sectors are all available to you”, he revealed.

A representative from GVTP, Mr. Isaac Boaten indicated that this programme is designed to equip those in the informal sector with literacy skills as well as sharpening their skills in their various vocations.

The Manager of the Technology Transfer and Marketing Center, Ms. Sheila Frimpong also encouraged the learners to be serious and be punctual as well as regular for classes. “You won’t get this anywhere, coming to acquire new skills, and on top of it, being given lunch and transportation every day. You must take full advantage of this golden opportunity given you”, she advised.

The programme was attended by representatives from GAEC including the Deputy Director of Administration, Mr. William Srekumah, The Human Resource Manager, Mr. Maxwell Nyarko and the Manager for Office of Corporate and Public Affairs, Mr. Mark Kwasi Sarfo. Also present were representatives from COTVET and executives of the Ghana Electronics Servicing Technicians Association.

By OCPA