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14.12.2005 General News

Nuke Energy Critical For Nation's Dev.

By Ghanaian Times
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THE chairman of the Council of State, Professor Daniel Adzei Bekoe, has asked Ghanaians to promote the positive and peaceful use of nuclear energy for national development.

Nuclear energy, also called atomic energy, is the energy produced in an atomic reactor to generate electricity or power for use by machines to dignose and treat specific diseases.

He said nuclear applications and techniques are critical to the socio-economic growth of the country and therefore urged the public to discard the perception that they are destructive.

Prof. Bekoe stated this at the launching of the 40th Anniversary and Strategic Corporate Plan of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) in Accra on Friday.

Activities outlined for the six-month celebration include lectures, seminars and public education on nuclear applications.

The five-year strategic plan will serve as a road map to position the GAEC to become a commercially driven organization that utilizes its research and technological capabilities to produce quality products to meet the expectations of stakeholders and customers.

Prof. Bekoe who is the chairman of the GAEC board stressed the need to ensure the peaceful use of atomic energy for industrial growth.

The Director-General of GAEC, Prof. Edward Akaho, said nuclear applications were being used to address problems of human health, food and agriculture, industry and environment.

He said the commission had established two national centres of radiotherapy and nuclear medicine at the Korle-Bu and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals for the diagnosis and treatment of various kinds of cancer.

"This has saved the country huge foreign exchange which would have been spent on the treatment of 2000 patients outside," he said.

Prof. Akaho said the facility would be extended to the Tamale Hospital to cater for the northern part of the country and neighbouring West African States.

He said the commission was negotiating with a financier and the government to establish a plant to provide solution to post-harvest losses and help promote the export of crops, cereals and vegetables to the international market.

In the area of nuclear safety and security, Prof. Akaho stated that the commission had developed adequate systems for radiological protection of patients and control exposures from radiation emitting sources in line with international standard.

He expressed the hope that the implementation of the strategic plan would ensure that GAEC became the leading organization contributing to sustainable national development through effective utilization of nuclear, biotechnology and other related technologies.

The Minister of Environment and Science, Ms Christine Churcher, in a speech read for her, asked the commission to look beyond and break new grounds in order to give it a new corporate identity.

Mr Dan Botwe, Minister of Information, also in a speech read for him asked the management of GAEC to adopt corporate values to run the organization.

He said the management should be committed to sound and transparent governance to enhance the commission's relationship with all stakeholders.