The reconstituted Board of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) was inaugurated on Monday, to provide direction to Management to help mitigate the myriad of challenges facing the country and ensure sustainable development.
The seven-member Board which is chaired by Dr Albert W. N. Q Barnor has Dr Walter A. Alhassan, Ms Isabel Boaten, Professor Kwasi Obiri-Danso, Professor Francis K. A. Allotey, Professor Benjamin J. B Nyarko and Professor Alexander K. Nyarko, as Members.
The Board has a five-year term and shall be eligible for re-appointment.
Mr Akwasi Opong-Fosu, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, who inaugurated the Board on behalf of President John Dramani Mahama, said the socio-economic challenges facing the country requires practical measures to put the economy on the path of sustainable development.
He mentioned the increasing energy demand which is characterised by frequent power outages, threats on food security due to population increases, the impact of climate change on agriculture, health and the construction industry, as well as the high frequency and severity of natural disasters, as worrying events that requires urgent attention.
According to him, the galamsey (illegal small scale mining) menace and other aspects of water, land and forest degradation as well as the increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases, notably the cancers are unacceptable and must be confronted with much gravity to address the problems.
Mr Opong-Fosu said after touring GAEC’s facility last week, he is convinced that the Commission undoubtedly has a huge potential to help turn Ghana round in its quest to develop into a proper upper middle income country.
“I realised that a lot is being done by GAEC to help address these challenges facing us in our effort to develop,” he said.
He said a clear pathway has been outlined for Ghana to add nuclear energy to her power mix in the not too distant future, citing the Nuclear Regulatory Authority Bill, the Convention on Early Notification of Nuclear of Nuclear Accident, Ratification of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage and the Ratification of the Convention on Assistance in the case of Nuclear Accident of Radiological Emergency which are all before Parliament for approval.
The objective of the Commission broadly is the promotion, development and utilisation of the peaceful applications of nuclear and biotechnological techniques for economic and social advancement of Ghana.
Mr Opong-Fosu said the functions of the Commission among other things is to make proposals to government for legislation in the field of nuclear radiation and radio-active waste management, to encourage and promote the commercialisation of research and development results through its institutes, to engage in research and development activities, as well as in the publication and determination of research findings and other useful technical information.
GAEC also ensures that Ghana maintains its relations with the International Atomic Energy Agency and other similar international and national organisations on matters of research and development of nuclear energy and nuclear technology, and collaborate with Universities and Research Institutes for the purposes of conducting research into matters connected with the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology.
The Minister said government would be counting the hard work of the Board to turn the situation of the country around.
He led the members to swear the Oath of Office and the Oath of Secrecy and also handed over their appointment letters to them.
Dr Barnor, on behalf of the other members expressed appreciation for the honour bestowed upon them and pledged to work hard and collaborate with the Ministry to ensure the fulfillment of their mandate.