IAEA Praises Safety Culture At Ghana's Research Reactor

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the team of experts sent to review safety and security at Ghana’s research reactor gave the operator high marks, noting the National Nuclear Research Institute and the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission has "demonstrated a high commitment to safety following the conversion of the reactor core to use low enriched uranium (LEU) as fuel instead of high enriched uranium (HEU."

Ghana research reactorThe IEAE sent an Integrated Safety Assessment for Research Reactors (INSARR) team to Ghana for a five-day review of the GHARR-1 research reactor, which was originally commissioned in 1994.

The unit is a 30 kW reactor that is used primarily for trace element analysis for industrial or agricultural purposes, research, education and training.

In 2017, the reactor core was converted in a joint effort by Ghana, the United States and China, with assistance from the IAEA, the agency said. noting that high safety standards were intact "while maintaining important scientific research."

“The research reactor’s operator is showing a high commitment to safety and has implemented safety improvements as part of the reactor core conversion,” said team leader Deshraju Venkat H. Rao, Nuclear Safety Officer at the IAEA.

Rao said the organizations could improve "safety documentation, and operational safety, including radiation protection aspects.”

The team sent to Ghana included experts from France, Jamaica and the United States.

GAEC Deputy Director General Shiloh Dede Osae said they agency was “committed to implementing the recommendations."

Those recommendations included "completing the revision of reactor safety and operating documents to reflect the results of the commissioning of the reactor after the core fuel conversion, improving training reactor operators, improve monitoring safety operations and "strengthening radiation protection by establishing an effective radiation monitoring of workplace."

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