Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation on Thursday paid a working visit to the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), to acquaint themselves with the Commission’s operations.
The team which was lead by Mr Edem Asimah, Member of Parliament for South Dayi in the Volta Region, visited the new Compost plant project which was under the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI), where organic fertilizers were being developed from municipal waste for agricultural purposes, among other things.
Other facilities visited were the Tissue Culture Centre, also under BNARI, where tissues of different crops were separated, and grown under specific temperatures, to achieve resistance from pest and diseases, and also to ensure higher crop yield.
The visiting group was also conducted round the Mechanical Workshop of the Commission where storage tanks and various kinds of steamers and boilers were molded with the approved materials and specifications for clients in both the petrol-chemical industry, as well as other industry players and health institutions.
Dr Innocent J. K. Aboh, Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, indicated at an earlier briefing session that the Commission has been very active in the promotion, development and utilization of the peaceful applications of nuclear and biotechnological techniques for economic and social advancement of Ghana since its establishment in 1963.
Its primary objectives were set out by the Parliamentary Act 588, which involves investigating the use of nuclear energy for Ghana and supporting research and development both in Ghana and abroad.
He indicated that in pursuance of its objectives, the Commission has established Institutes and centres, such as the National Nuclear Research Institute, and the School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences, which carry out appropriate research activities in areas of preservation, maintenance and enhancement of nuclear knowledge in Ghana and Africa.
They do these through the provision of high quality teaching, research, entrepreneurship training, service and development of postgraduate programmes in the nuclear sciences and technology, he said.
According to him, the Radiation Protection Institute (RPI) which was one of the Institutes under the Commission, was also authorized to inspect and control all activities and practices involving sealed radiation sources, ionizing radiation and other sources, radioactive materials and x-rays used in hospitals in Ghana.
The same institute is responsible for the implementation of safety culture by providing adequate human resource development in radiation and waste safety for management and operating organizations. Conduct research and technical services in radiation and waste safety.
He also cited BNARI, which was currently making gradual headway and breakthroughs in the safe application of nuclear technology in the agricultural sector in the area of food preservation among other things.
Dr Aboh, however, stated that, in spite of all the successes and vision, the Commission was highly handicapped in terms of financial resources for the development of infrastructure and human resource for the smooth take-off of its Nuclear Power Programme and finance other activities and programmes.