Ghana has commissioned three new nuclear faciliies – the Low-Enriched Uranium Core Research Reactor Facility, the International Miniature Neutron Source Reactor Training Facility and the Radiological and Medical Science Research Institute Laboratories building at the Scientific Research and Development Institution of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC).
Ghana’s Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia opened the faciliites at a ceremony on 29 July.
Ghana laid the foundations of its nuclear programme the help from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the USA, China and Russia, beginning in 1994.
In August 2017, Ghana became the only country, apart from China, to successfully convert its highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuelled research reactor to use low enriched uranium (LEU), for which it received an outstanding performance award from the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. The 30kW Chinese-designed Miniature Neutron Source Reactor was converted by the China Institute of Atomic Energy.
Bawumia praised the work of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission for its contribution to the development of the country through the application of nuclear science and technology in health, agriculture and industry.
The GAEC was set up in 1963 to introduce nuclear science and technology into Ghana.
He added: "We can't go anywhere as a nation without Science and Technology. Previous governments have paid little attention to the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and Science and Technology as a whole, but I assure you that President Nana Akufo-Addo has his eyes on science and technology and will continue to support and show appreciation for it by giving financial support to projects like this."
The government has already initiated moves to establish a nuclear power plant. "Cabinet has approved the setting up of an organisation to oversee the construction and operation of Ghana's first NPP and believe it will also help our quest to achieve some of the sustainable development goals," Bawumia said.
Legislation to establish an independent nuclear regulatory body, the Ghana Nuclear Regulatory Authority was passed by parliament in August 2015.