Turning Misconception To Power: Ghana’s Nuclear Sector Drives Change

By Jessica Ahedor

Kwabenya–Accra, Andy Tetteh Kuntum, President, Ghana Nuclear Society is poised to turn the misconceptions about nuclear science in Ghana to build a drive for the nuclear sector for exploitation and utilization. “I have realized that the myth and misconceptions about the nuclear sector have caused more harm than good. In Ghana, immediately they hear nuclear or atomic energy, they say “you’re creating an atomic bomb to blast the country”.

This notion alone scares students from even thinking about career paths in nuclear engineering which have the potential of impacting the country positively, he said.

To address this phenomena the team is set to engage in a sensitization and education programs with the responsible sector players and potential partners to harness the best from the fields of nuclear sciences in Ghana. “We are embarking on an extensive sensitization and education program this year to garner support and resources that will break the stereotype and drive the needed change for the sector”

As crucial as nuclear science may be to humans – understanding the universe, and the world, there’s the need to understand atoms, how they come together, interact, and how they are best combined with other constituents to provide humans with the opportunity to develop new, more efficient materials and medicines for use.

Just as the western worlds are thriving on nuclear science in the areas of medicine, environmental health, food and agriculture, industrial application, mining, energy and archeology.

In medicine, it is estimated that one-third of all procedures used in modern hospitals involve radiation or radioactivity. These procedures are safe, and effective, and don’t require anaesthetic as they are useful in a broad spectrum of medical specialties: from paediatrics and cardiology to psychiatry.

Medical physicist, and a project manager of Ghana Nuclear Society, John Amankwah Otu said, in health today, a nuclear medicine procedure that uses radioisotopes for diagnosis deploys radiation or radioactivity to diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases like cancer.

“In health today, there are nuclear medicine procedures that use radioisotopes for diagnosis using medical technique that deploys radiation or radioactivity to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease like cancer”.

Failure to explore the nuclear sciences will continually leave Ghana over-dependent on the western world for quality health care and advanced health care equipment, says Otu.

Nuclear power is one of the fastest-growing energy options for countries seeking energy security and low-emission energy solutions. Though Ghana tried developing nuclear energy in addition to the country’s generational mix, not much attention is paid to that. Efforts to realize the dream of utilizing nuclear power has not yielded much result over the years. Ampomah-Amoako et al. in 2011 defended this cause till today but experts say, the quest has been abandoned many times because of misconceptions about nuclear reactor safety.

Nuclear science also helps researchers to understand the history of the environment, how environment functions and interact, and impact humans. Modern accelerator facilities capable of providing both ion beam analysis (IBA) and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) services, to analyze isotopic ratios to study paleo-climate variability over millions of years. This helps to better understand and plan for issues that bother on ocean, land, and atmospheric interactions of the climate system.

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