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19.01.2005 General News

IAEA boss visits Ghana

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Accra, Jan. 19, GNA - The Director General of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr Mohammed ElBaradei will witness the commissioning of the Radiotherapy Centre at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital on Friday in Kumasi.

Dr ElBaradei arrives in the country on Thursday at the invitation of President John Agyekum Kufuor, who will commission the Centre. While in the country, the Director General will visit the offices and site of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) at Kwabenya in Accra and hold a durbar with the staff.

Professor Edward Horga Kordzo Akaho, Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview that the invitation had been extended two years earlier, but events in Iraq had not made it possible for IAEA boss to come at that time.

He said the presence of the IAEA Director-General in the country, was significant considering the huge assistance Ghana receives from the IAEA in the areas of research and development in nuclear science to national development.

Prof. Akaho said for instance that the Agency had for the past 10 years supported the GAEC with over 12 million dollars, five million of which was used in the establishment of the Radiotherapy Centre at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

A total of 4,389 patients from Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, La C=F4te d'Ivoire, Benin and Burkina Faso had been managed at the Korle Bu Radiotherapy Centre, while the Hospital's Nuclear Medicine Unit had so far diagnosed and monitored 1,800 patients.

In addition, the Centre at Kumasi is significant because of the increase in life expectancy levels for Ghanaians that came along with diseases like cancer, and the patronage from other countries in sub-region.

Prof Akaho said the Radiation Protection Institute of the GAEC was monitoring 80 per cent of workers in Ghana exposed to radiation to protect them from over-exposure.

Also with the assistance of the GAEC, companies like the Aboadze Thermal Plant, Tema Oil Refinery, Unilever and Aluworks, have installed a kind of scanning system, called Non-Destructive Testing, to detect the exact faulty spots in the plants.

Other achievements of the Commission are that it has analysed several food and iodated salt samples on the market, and analysed soil samples and rocks for elemental profile for some mining companies. The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission was established by an Act of Parliament (Act 204), in 1963, superseded by Act 588 in 2000, for the promotion, development and utilisation of the peaceful application of nuclear and biotechnological techniques for economic and social advancement of the Ghana.

In pursuance of these objectives, the Commission presently has three institutes and five centres.

The institutes are the Nuclear Research Institute, the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute and the Radiation Protection Institute.

The Centres are the National Centre for Mathematical Sciences, the Radiation Technology Centre, the Ghana Research Reactor Centre, the National Radioactive Waste Management Centre and the Digital Electronics and Nuclear Instrumentation Centre.

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