The core business of the NNRI, which is research and development, has been taken seriously since the establishment of the institute. A few areas of research and development are:
- Comprehensive studies on water resource (surface and groundwater) using hydrochemistry, stable and radiogenic isotopes. Critical target points have been the water quality; source of salinity; recharge and sustainability in terms of quantity etc.
- Assessment of heavy metals in various matrices. Specific areas are heavy metal uptake in some Ghanaian dishes; heavy metal in phosphate-containing fertilizers; heavy metal in some herbal mixtures on the Ghanaian market; analysis of various industrial effluents; research on air quality.
- Geophysical research and investigation with focus on safety of nuclear facilities.
- Studies in the area of Borehole Disposal Concept- this research aims at finding the suitability of a newly developed nuclear waste disposal method.
- Behaviour of ion beam interaction in matter.
- Research in the area of reactor physics, nuclear core calculations and application driven design, analyses and experiments.
- Soil fertility studies and research in mineral exploitation.
- Radiation transport physics and shielding research.