The Treaty of Pelindaba established the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE). AFCONE plays a key role in advancing the peaceful application of nuclear science and technology in Africa and in bringing much-needed support to States Parties to fully benefit from nuclear sciences and technology applications in the areas of health, agriculture and energy. AFCONE is also actively engaged in global and regional efforts towards disarmament and non-proliferation.
The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission was established by an Act of Parliament, Act 204 of 1963, as the sole Agency in Ghana responsible for all matters relating to peaceful uses of atomic energy. The Act 204 was amended in 1993 by PNDC Law 308 mainly to enable it to create other institutes under the Commission. This amendment resulted in the creation of two other Institutes in addition to the National Nuclear Research Institute (NNRI) – formerly Kwame Nkrumah Nuclear Research Institute (KNNRI). The two Institutes are the Radiation Protection Institute and the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI). The founding Act 204 of 1963 has been superseded by Act 588 of 2000 to make provision for GAEC to undertake commercialisation of its research and development results.
The functions of the Commission according to Act 588 are as follows:
- To make proposals to the Government for Legislation in the field of nuclear radiation and radioactive waste management.
- To advise the Government on questions relating to nuclear energy, science and technology.
- To establish, for the purpose of research and in furtherance of its functions, Institutes of the Commission and to exercise control over the boards of management of the Institutes.
- To encourage and promote the commercialisation of research and development results through its Institutes.
- To supervise the carrying out of all requirements designed to secure the safety and health of radiation workers and the environment.
- To engage in research and development activities, as well as in the publication and dissemination of research findings and other useful technical information.
- To oversee and facilitate the development of human resources in the fields of nuclear science and technology, and to promote the training of scientific, technical and non-scientific personnel of the Commission.
- To maintain 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.
- To collaborate with Universities and Research Institutes for the purpose of conducting research into matters connected with the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology.
To become the leading organisation contributing to sustainable national prosperity through the effective utilization of nuclear, biotechnology and other related technologies.
The corporate mission of the Commission is to develop and promote the utilisation of nuclear, biotechnology, and other related technologies for socio-economic development through research, training and commercialization; and to advice government on policy related to peaceful applications of these technologies.
In pursuit of this mission, GAEC has established the six technical institutes and a graduate school for its research and development activities with a total staff strength of about 900. They are as follows:
- National Nuclear Research Institute (NNRI)
- Radiation Protection Institute (RPI)
- Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI)
- Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute (RAMSRI)
- Nuclear Power Institute (NPI)
- Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute (GSSTI)
- Graduate School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences (SNAS)
Additionally, GAEC has developed strategic alliances and partnership with national, regional and international bodies to assist Ghana fulfil her obligations in nuclear safety, security, safeguards and environmental protection while building the necessary capacity for the introduction of nuclear power into Ghana’s energy mix.