NPG, GAEC, HTU signed MOU to develop human resource for Ghana’s Nuclear Power programme
Board Chairman of Nuclear Power Ghana Prof. Benjamin B. J Nyarko has acknowledged the urgent need to train competent professionals required to achieve Ghana’s nuclear power agenda.
It is important to anchor the point that factors such nuclear accounting, geo-physis, attire to wear, siting, civil engineering are relevant to achieve Ghana’s nuclear power agenda. Therefore, it is not only about teaching students in the area of nuclear power a lone but other auxiliaries like civil engineering, hydrological engineering, all are paramount. This is because when officials are conducting siting, they need geo-physicist, geologist, hydrologist. It presupposes that diverse human resources are required in the nuclear power journey.
However, it is a fact that Nuclear Power Ghana will need the core competencies such as the nuclear engineers to operate the facilities when it comes to the actual operation of the nuclear power plant. Honestly, this programme requires various departments including Journalists to play meaningful role, sensitisation to erase fake news and misconceptions about nuclear power.
Speaking at a the signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding for human resource nurturing and development for Ghana’s nuclear power programme/project by Ho Technical University (HTU), Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG) and Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) at Ho in the Volta Region on Thursday 15 September 2022, the former GAEC Director-General Prof. Nyarko said “There is urgent need to form a consortium of universities to train the required qualified professionals to successfully implement Ghana’s nuclear power programme. If it must be done, it must be done well”.
Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor of Ho Technical University Prof. Ben. O. Honyenuga appealed to Nuclear Power Ghana to establish Centre of Nuclear Studies at Ho Technical University to serve Ghana and West African sub-region. According to him, the HTU is determined to be the first to run Diploma course in Nuclear.
Speaking at the MOU signing ceremony, Prof. Honyenuga revealed that “Ho Technical University is positioning itself to provide technical manpower for the success of Ghana’s Nuclear Power programme”. According to him “a technical team will be set up to define timelines without delay. My team will be ready to work with you. HTU will be the first university to take a course in nuclear. We are ready to run a course in nuclear and want to get it right”.
Professor Honyenuga noted that “This MOU is in advancement of our vision which aims at becoming a reputable technical university, working and contributing to national and international development. In line with our mission to train career-focused people, human resources to the highest level as possible who are competent to contribute to national development. We are in position to churn out people within the nuclear space. We’re aware of the advantages of nuclear power and the insufficiency of our energy resources in this country. When Centre for Nuclear Studies is established in Ho Technical University, it will serve as an incubator for trainees for acquisition of skills in nuclear”.
Director of Nuclear Power Institute Prof. Seth Debrah in his opening remarks expressed confidence that “one thing this MOU should do is to ensure foundational course for everyone in the university because everyone needs idea about nuclear before working at the facility. This university stands the chance of propelling us as a country to where we want to get to”.
In his opening remarks, Deputy Director-General of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) Professor Dickson Adomako said “Today marks a memorable and an important day in the history of Ghana’s nuclear power programme. For the first time, we are extending our nuclear education to the technical level which further strengthen our programme through this MoU. As most of us may already be aware, we arew being ushered into phase two of the lAEA milestones approach. This requires further technical oversight of activities to ensure that the credibility of the nuclear project/programme is intact. In light of this, Ghana as a country must harness its existing human resources and available competencies to establish that expert technical oversight for the nuclear project/programme. From within Ghana Atomic Energy Commission alone, I see a pool of various services which can be of great value to the nuclear power programme. The focus now is how can we transform all of these services into a synergy which functions for the full benefit of the nuclear power programme. The human resource capacity building through this MoU will be critical to the success of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission vision of providing technical service to the nuclear power project. The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission is committed to its function of partnering other tertiary institutions like Ho Technical University to develop the needed education and training curriculum for human resource development. GAEC hope the implementation of the MoU would yield the needed outcome to support the project technical support
Speaking at the ceremony, Deputy Director of Nuclear Power Institute Dr. Archibold Buah-Kwofie expressed joy that “I am elated to be here on this occasion of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG), the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) and Ho Technical University on Nuclear Science and Technology Education. it would be recalled that on Thursday, August 26, 2022, the President of the Republic, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, approved the inclusion of nuclear power into the country’s electricity generation mix. This declaration has given the Nuclear Power Programme/Project the needed impetus and calls for the expedition of activities of the Project. Significant amongst them is Human Resource Development (HRD), which forms part of the nineteen key infrastructure issues. When we talk about infrastructure we mean a system that provides legail, regulatory, technical, financial, social, human and industrial support to ensure effectiveness of nuclear power plant. Although HRD is part of the key infrastructure issues, in practice, it cuts across most of the other 18 critical infrastructure issues. It is important as a country to strengthen, develop, maintain, and implement capacity-building programmes, including education and training to continuously ensure sufficient and qualified human resources are available for the project implementation. To achieve these, especially in Ghana, it is essential that we develop the institutional capacity to run our Nuclear Programme/Projects competently and sustainably. Currently, we are in Phase 2 of the Nuclear Power Programme and envisage that by 2030 Ghana’s first Nuclear Power Plant would be operational. According to the IAEA, some specialists in the nuclear field require 5-10 years of training and experience which means that building and maintaining the necessary human capacity is a critical
component of Ghana’s Nuclear Power Programme/Project. The HRD is multi-faceted, it involves graduate programmes for nuclear engineers as well as vocational programmes for nuclear technicians. Here at Ho Technical University, you are known as one of the best technical institutions in Ghana for providing education and training in technical and vocational fields. Our engagement with Management was positive and we encourage Management to envision a bigger picture and identify its role in assisting the government to develop the nation through nuclear science and technology. It is for this reason we are all gathered here today to officially partner with the HTU to nurture and develop human resources for Ghana’s Nuclear Power Programme/Project. There are very essential responsibilities of the Owner/Operator, the Regulator, and the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation (GNPPO), and our prompt action in developing our human capacity will ensure that we have competent and qualified people to execute these responsibilities on time. This MOU thus commits us to work together more closely and swiftly towards our common goal. This will allow us to avoid some challenges encountered by other countries where they lacked the requisite number of qualified nationals at the time their nuclear power plants were set for operation. As part of our stakeholder involvement, we would, together with our Technical Support Organisation, liaise with the HTU team to organise engagements to ensure public acceptance and support for the Nuclear Project. Through the engagements, we would also lay the foundations for the future workforce by educating the students about opportunities for a career in the nuclear sector. We would ensure that we follow a detailed strategy and an institutionalized approach to HRD such that our human resources are strengthened and sufficient to regulate, manage, operate, and maintain the safety of nuclear facilities and meet future staffing requirements. In closing, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone whose dedication and efforts have contributed to the finalization of this MOU.
I am certain that through our efforts and commitment, we will be able to execute our respective roles and develop our domestic workforce with the requisite skills necessary to keep pace with the evolution of the nuclear program through its various stages of construction and operation. We look forward to developing even stronger relationships and friendships and would
like also to assure you that Nuclear Power Ghana and all entrusted institutions under
the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation (GNPPO) will do whatever it takes for the Nuclear Power Project to see the of light day. Thank you”.
Delivering the purpose of the MOU, Executive Director of Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG) Dr. Stephen Yamoah disclosed that “Earlier this year, NPG and GAEC approached HTU management to establish a collaboration that will lead to the two institutions supporting HTU to design new
programmes to help develop part of the needed Human resource required for Ghana’s nuclear programme. The first meeting gave a lot of indication of the direction HTU management wanted
to position the university, as a progressive, forward looking technical university. They embraced the ideas that were proposed and a number of meetings and engagements have ensued after that very first meeting. Those meetings and engagements have resulted in the development of an MOU, which has brought us all together this morning. Ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to note that, we are gathered here this morning to see to the signing of an MOU between our three institutions to move this relationship to the next level. I pray that we will all put in the same effort to see to the implementation of this MOU to help nurture the human resource we all envision for Ghana’s nuclear programme
Source: Jerry John Akornor