The Government of Ghana, under the leadership of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah established the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) by act 204 of 1963. Ghana had already joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1958. A committee, chaired by Dr. R.P. Baffour was tasked to carry out the preparatory work for the establishment of the commission. The immediate strategy (as captured in the act) was to implement a 2MW Research Reactor, which was to help train and develop the required human resource for a future Nuclear Power Reactor to complement the power production from the Akosombo Hydro Plant. In 1964, Osagyefor Dr. Kwame Nkrumah laid the foundation stone for the construction of the Reactor Building at Kwabenya, the current site of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission.
In pursuant of the mandate, as indicated in the act 204, the first operational institute, Kwame Nkrumah Nuclear Research Institute (KNNRI), now the National Nuclear Research Institute (NNRI), was established. Prof. J.E.O. Lindsay headed the KNNRI.
Following the change of Government in February 1966, the Commission was dissolved and construction of the Reactor Building was stalled. The NNRI currently comprises seven (7) centres; the Accelerator Research Centre (ARC), Engineering Services Centre (ESC), Nuclear Chemistry and Environmental Research Centre (NCERC), National Data Centre (NDC), National Radioactive Waste Management Centre (NRWMC), Nuclear Applications Centre (NAC) and Nuclear Reactors Research Centre (NRRC).