Malaria
Malaria

The inability of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) to pay an outstanding electricity bill debt in 2015 compelled the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to cut power supply to the commission.

This negatively affected the conduct of a five-year scientific experiment on malaria being carried out by the Commission.

“We lost years of painful experiment,” Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, lamented, in Accra.

As he led officials of the Ministry to appear before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) to answer questions related to its financial performance contained in the Auditor General’s Report for 2015, the Minister regretted that, when the GAEC was about to finish with an experiment it was conducting to radiate the female anopheles mosquito, a push on the electricity plug, resulting in power cut, sent everything into disarray.

At that point of the experiment, the Minister, a former Chief Executive of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, said the GAEC was about to replicate the experiment on a mass scale.
However, the power disconnection by the ECG because of GAEC’s debt killed all the mosquitoes.

“The idea of the research was that, we radiate them (the female mosquitoes). After the radiation experiment, we release them on the fields to mate with the males and their offspring will not be able to transmit malaria,” he said.

He added: “Just at the tail end of that experiment, the GAEC owed ECG and somebody was brave enough to go and turn off the light and killed all the mosquitoes. So we lost years of painful experiment. That is how they lost their investment”, he said.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng did not disclose the financial cost, and how much the nation lost in that project, but indicated that the abrupt end of that laborious project was a real worry to the Commission.

Also, the year 2015 was a critical year and periods of no electricity affected the running of data.

The Commission, he said, was designed not to make profit, but incured a lot of expenditure.

The Minister announced that the Commission was seeking permission from the Government to operate as an autonomous body free from the University of Ghana under which it operated

Professor Benjamin Jabez Nyarko, Director General of the Commission, said the GAEC made strides far ahead of other African countries in the introduction of nuclear power in Ghana’s energy mix.

With the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, now in place, what was now left was the search for a suitable operator and site for the plants.

Prof Nyarko gave a 10-year roadmap, and stressed the need for funding for the establishment of nuclear power projects.

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