Ghana Hosts Nigerian Nuclear Engineers on Reactor Core Conversion

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) organized a program that hosted a ten member team from Nigeria at the International Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) Training Facility (IMTF) in Accra, Ghana.

The Centre Manager of the Nuclear Reactors Research Centre (NRRC) under the National Nuclear Research Institute (NNRI), GAEC, Dr. Henry Cecil Odoi said the objective of the program was to train member states who operate MNSRs outside China to convert their Research Reactor fuels from Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) to Low Enriched Uranium (LEU).

According to him, efforts were initiated in 2006 to convert the Chinese-designed MNSR in Ghana from HEU to LEU fuel.  ‘The Ghana Research Reactor -1 is the first of five such MNSR reactors outside of China to have been converted and the HEU core returned to China”.

He added that through a collaborative work between Ghana, USA, China and the IAEA, the HEU core was removed from the reactor in August 2016 and a new LEU core installed.

‘The Nigerian’s MNSR is the next to undergo conversion of the core and Ghana is hosting them for series of training sessions to help equip them with the requisite skills to carry out the activity’, he explained.

The head of the Nigerian team, Dr. Hamisu Abukari Admamu in an interview said, their research reactor which was commissioned in February, 2004 will be converted from HEU to LEU.  According to him the training sessions will help them prepare for the conversion process.

He commended the efforts of the supervisors and facilitators for giving out their best to his team.

A specialist at the International Relations Department of the SOSNY R&D Company, Russia, Ms. Irina Shatalina, who together with her team offered technical training to the Nigerian personnel expressed satisfaction at the rate of progress made by the Nigerians so far.

She intimated that she was confident the Nigerians would be able to convert the core within the stipulated period at the end of all the training sessions without assistance. She also expressed gratitude to GAEC for the immense support given her and her team during the training sessions.

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

Engineers Entreat GAEC to Build Capacity for Local Content Jobs

Some members of the Ghana Institute of Engineers, Accra, have called on the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) to take advantage of the growing opportunities in the Oil and Gas Sector to develop human capacity for local content jobs.

The concerned engineers made the call at a recent lecture delivered by Scientists of the National Nuclear Research Institute (NNRI), GAEC, on Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) technologies and applications.

NDT is a technique that ensures that the structural integrity of systems are maintained even after work is done on them. It ensures that no damage is done to parts being worked on.   Thistechnology requires the use of radiation among others, to detect cracks, corrosion and leakages in pipes and tanks.

The growing need for NDT technology and services in the offshore Oil and Gas sector has necessitated local engineers to demand for the building of human capacity in the area of NDT technologies to offer offshore NDT services.

Speaking in an interview, Fredric Emmanuel Awuku Bekoe, an Engineer and a member of the Ghana Institute of Engineers disclosed that he was impressed with the activities carried out at GAEC.

He acknowledged that GAEC has proven that it has competent human resource in the field of NDT. However, he lamented that Ghana has not secured enough jobs that use NDT within the offshore Oil and Gas sector.

“Petty Offshore jobs are still awarded to foreign companies because the locals do not have the resources to carry out such jobs. But from the lessons learnt I could tell that GAEC is capable of doing beyond what they are doing currently if government can support”, he said.

He added that it is about time GAEC moved from the onshore services to secure other offshore jobs. Mr. Bekoe further added that most of the generated revenue will remain in Ghana if Government can equip GAEC to extend services beyond its reach.

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

Nuclear Power is Key to Ghana’s Quest for Industrialization – Dr. Thomas Mensah

“Ghana’s developmental dreams will be short-lived without a constant supply of electricity to power industries”.  Dr. Mensah made this statement on a working visit to the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), to ascertain the effective use of Nuclear Technology in national development.

Dr. Mensah is a Ghanaian-American chemical engineer who works in fiber optics and nanotechnology. He has to his credit, fourteen (14) patents, of which seven (7) were awarded within a period of six years. He was inducted into the US National Academy of Inventors in 2015.

In an interview during his tour, he spoke passionately about the rich mineral and human resource potentials that Ghana can tap into, for its development without relying on foreign aid. He stressed that Ghana’s industrialization requires the building of factories with uninterrupted power supply.

He reiterated the need for nuclear power supply in Ghana as a sustainable option to meet Ghana’s energy needs especially for industry.

He mentioned that the Silicon Valley project for Ghana was launched in January 2017 aspart of Ghana’s efforts to bridge the technology gap in the country. He added that it will work hand in hand with GAEC to create businesses (in accelerators and incubators) that can compete with tech-companies around the world. According to him, “The Silicon Valley of Ghana will, move Ghana into the 21stCentury’s technological advancement and also specifically support the high Speed Bullet Train that is being developed in Ghana”.  He added that there is an initiative to also look at generating electricity from waste.

Speaking on Agriculture and food preservation in Ghana, Dr. Mensah noted that his outfit would work with experts from GAEC, employing GAEC’s Gamma Irradiation Facility (GIF) to control post-harvest losses by irradiating crops for longer shelf lives. Thus, such crops could be exported to other countries to generate revenue.

He used the opportunity to tour some laboratories and facilities at GAEC.

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

Be Visible on Your Properties – Deputy Minister Charges GAEC

The Deputy Minister of Environment Science and Technology and innovation Mrs. Patricia Appiagye, has charged the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission to utilize its available lands to prevent encroachment.

The deputy Minister who addressed the leadership of the Commission during her one-day working visit lamented that lands that are yet to be developed by the Commission are being taken over by encroachers.

According to her, the graduate School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences (SNAS) will soon require expansion, hence will need a vast land for such development. She added that SNAS offering postgraduate programmes in Nuclear Science is a big project and must not be underestimated.

She blamed the poor visibility of GAEC activities on its lands as one of the leading causes of encroachment. She advised that the Commission expands its Institute to fill up the remaining properties to limit or eliminate these issues of encroachment.

Mrs. Appiagyei further pledged government’s commitment to help GAEC protect the remaining lands against encroachment.

The Director General of GAEC, Prof. Benjamin Nyarko was thankful to the Deputy Minister for her support to help find a lasting solution to the issues of encroachment on GAEC Properties. According to him, the situation becomes less challenging when a state owned institution like GAEC gets the full support of government.

He called on government to help the Commission ensure that the needed expansion and developmental projects come into full force.