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Increased investment in scientific research and development will harness potential of nuclear technology – Kwamena Quaison

Mr. Kwamena Quaison, Director of Science, Technology and Innovations at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations (MESTI), has emphasized the importance of investing in scientific research and development to harness the potential of nuclear technology.

Speaking at the Scientific Innovations Dialogue in , commemorating the Day of Africa's Scientific Renaissance, Mr. Quaison highlighted the various benefits that could be achieved through such investments.

“Taking such steps would yield more opportunities by creating new industries, new jobs, ensure , provide health solutions to the labour force, and provide a cleaner and more sustainable future for all,” he stated.

Under the theme “Harnessing the power of the atom for economic transformation through science and technology,” the celebration, organized by MESTI, focused on the potential economic transformation that can be achieved through nuclear technology.

Mr. Quaison emphasized that nuclear technology has the capacity to create new industries and jobs if the country takes the necessary steps to build capacity, starting from the basic level of education.

He highlighted the power of the atom as a source of energy that has played a significant role in the industrial revolution of many countries, and with further advancements, it has become even more valuable.

The Director stressed the importance of reliable and affordable energy for resilient economies, emphasizing the need to critically evaluate energy production, distribution, and consumption activities.

Mr. Quaison noted that Ghana's electricity generation has shifted from 84 per cent hydro and 14 per cent thermal to 38 per cent hydro and 60 per cent thermal, resulting in high tariffs due to gas price volatility and erratic gas supply.

He highlighted the burden of high electricity costs, which account for 40 per cent of production costs for industries in Ghana, making it challenging for them to stay competitive.

Considering the diminishing hydro potential, Mr. Quaison highlighted nuclear and coal as attractive baseload options to help reduce tariffs and facilitate industrialization. He mentioned that Ghana has issued a request for information and received feedback for six large reactors and nine small modular reactors (SMRs).

Dr. Samuel Boakye Dampare, Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), commended Ghana for offering research-driven solutions in various sectors such as agriculture, health, environmental sustainability, energy, and water resource management.

Dr. Dampare emphasized the importance of collaboration among scientists and research institutions, citing successful examples of teamwork, such as the collaboration between GAEC's Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute (RAMSRI) and the National Radiotherapy Oncology and Nuclear Medicine Centre of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in treatment.

Dr. Dampare called for deeper and stronger collaborations between Ghana's scientific communities to enhance knowledge sharing and the development of innovations and technologies for the benefit of Ghanaians.

He urged the government, private sector industries, and other stakeholders to increase their investment in science, technology, and innovations to achieve the vision of economic transformation.

Dr. Dampare also highlighted the importance of African governments raising their national gross expenditure on research and development to at least one per cent of (GDP) to promote innovation, productivity, and economic growth.

The dialogue emphasized the critical role of investment in scientific research and development, particularly in the field of nuclear technology, as a catalyst for economic transformation and sustainable development in Ghana.

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