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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Atomic lands': understanding land disputes near Ghana's nuclear reactor
Author:Osseo-Asare, Abena Dove
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:nuclear energy
land conflicts
External link:http://afraf.oxfordjournals.org/content/115/460/443.abstract
Abstract:The presence of a low-power 30 kW nuclear reactor at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) in Kwabenya, a suburb of Ghana's capital city Accra, has exacerbated longstanding disputes over access to land there. The reactor complex has a five km radius of empty land as a buffer zone, but neighbouring residents have reclaimed what they perceive to be fallow land. An estimated 30 percent of the 2,000 acres of GAEC land has been lost to squatters and resale by families from Kwabenya, Haatso, and other nearby towns. This article traces the history of land disputes at Kwabenya from the earliest court records in the early twentieth century, through the expropriation of GAEC lands in the 1960s under President Kwame Nkrumah, to recent tensions after Ghana imported the reactor in 1994. A historical analysis of Atomic Lands in Ghana shows how competing interpretations of an exclusion zone may compromise nuclear security in African countries. The analysis is based on testimonies from court records, media reports, and extensive oral history interviews with residents, physicists, and entrepreneurs in Kwabenya. Their stories indicate that the Commission increasingly uses the potential of radiation on their properties to outmanoeuvre family claims to land. As Ghana and other African countries expect to expand their nuclear capabilities, a history of property disputes near one of the first nuclear programmes on the continent demonstrates the challenge of managing atomic lands. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]