IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano congratulated Ghana on the nuclear regulatory framework and legal infrastructure which it put in place earlier this year. “An independent regulatory authority is essential for the safe and secure use of nuclear technology,” Mr Amano told Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama in Accra last week, adding that the IAEA will support Ghana if it decides to embark on a nuclear power programme.
An IAEA mission scheduled for early 2017 will assess Ghana’s nuclear infrastructure, ahead of a government decision planned for 2018 on the introduction of nuclear power.
Mr Amano visited the country’s Accelerator Centre with Mahama Ayariga, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, and commissioned an ion beam accelerator installed with IAEA assistance.
The accelerator will be used to analyse minerals and the quality of foodstuffs. Scientists also plan to use the new equipment for the preservation of cultural artefacts and in environmental science.
During his visit to the Centre, Mr Amano highlighted the important contribution that science and technology will make to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr Amano met the Minister for Power, and visited a Radiotherapy Centre at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, which the IAEA has helped to establish in collaboration with the Ghana Atomic Energy Agency (GAEC). The centre provides services not only to the local population, but also to patients from Benin, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo, which do not have treatment facilities of their own.
The IAEA supports Ghana in applying nuclear and nuclear-related technologies in many areas, including health care, nutrition and food and agriculture. Following the re-emergence in 2015 of Avian Flu in West Africa, the IAEA provided Ghana with training in nuclear-derived techniques as well as equipment to assist in the early detection of outbreaks.
The Agency helped the GAEC and the University of Ghana to establish a Graduate School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences at the University, which provides postgraduate education to students from Ghana and other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Mr Amano encouraged Ghana to continue in its efforts to develop its human resources in the nuclear field, and reiterated the IAEA’s support. Numerous scientists from Ghana have benefited from IAEA fellowships, scientific visits and training courses.
“The IAEA will continue to provide targeted assistance to Ghana through its technical cooperation programme,” Mr Amano said.