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25.11.2008 General News

GAEC Takes Inventory Of Radioactive Materials

The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has identified more than 1000 radioactive sources in the industry, health and agricultural sectors.

As part of national and international security action plan, the GAEC is taking inventory of all the radioactive materials and those not in use would be transported to GAEC headquarters in Accra for safe-keeping and disposal.

Professor Yaw Serfor Armah, Deputy Director General of the GAEC, who announced this in Accra yesterday, said the measure had become necessary because since September 11, 2001, the control and usage of radioactive sources had become an emerging global issue, particularly on the possible use of radioactive materials in terrorist activities.

He said the government was fully committed to the multilateral non-proliferation treaty on nuclear safeguards.

The Deputy Director General, who was speaking at the opening ceremony of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and GAEC regional workshop on regulatory control of radiation sources, said the Commission would also ensure that while developing and promoting nuclear science and technology, nuclear safety and security were not compromised.

He pointed out that the Radiation Protection Board (RPB) was the sole regulatory body in Ghana established to ensure control and use of radioactive sources.

The RPB has the authority to authorise, license, inspect and control all activities and practices involving radiation source, radioactive materials and X-ray facilities in hospitals, industries and others in Ghana.

Health Minister, Major Courage Quashigah (retd), said despite benefits from various applications of radioactive sources, there were hazards associated with their use.

He appealed to the experts not to exceed the dose of the radioactive materials and also not to be careless when using the materials.

The minister, therefore, urged the participants to endeavour to learn more useful lessons at the workshop, so that they could return to their various countries and institutions to assist in handling dangerous radioactive materials to protect lives.

Story by Abdul Aziz

& Jennifer Dornoo