Centre for Nuclear Energy Studies & Training (CNEST), Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO)
The implementation of the approved national nuclear power roadmap which is aimed at developing and deploying Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) for electricity generation in the country, is vested on the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC). This is being carried out in three phases, namely:
I. Manpower and Capacity Building
II. Reactor design, sitting, etc
III. Construction of Reactors/Nuclear Power Plants
Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) is one of the five Universities NAEC is partnering with in manpower development and capacity building i.e. Putting in place a comprehensive manpower development programme for the production of the critical mass of professionals that would drive the national nuclear power programme.
In 2011, NAEC identified the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) as a foremost University of Technology in the country eminently qualified to participate in its human capacity building efforts. Hence, the Centre for Nuclear Energy Studies and Training (CNEST) was established in the Federal University of Technology, Owerri on February 13, 2012 with the appointment of Prof. F.C Eze as its pioneer Director. The Centre is temporarily housed in the School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology (SAAT) ETF Building.
In December, 2012, NAEC awarded contract for the construction of Laboratory and Workshop building complex for the the Centre for Nuclear Energy Studies and Training (CNEST), Federal University of Technology, Owerri. The foundation laying ceremony was performed by Senator Anyim Pius Anyim on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. The construction of the said permanent site is on-going. The present Director of the Centre is Dr. Ikenna Nwachukwu, a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Microbiology, FUTO having taken over from Prof. O.M.I Nwafor in June 2021.
MANDATE, FUNCTIONS AND ACTIVITIES OF CNEST
• To conduct researches in Nuclear Instrumentation and control
• Organizing short certification courses in Nuclear Instrumentation and control
• Development and running of approved undergraduate and post graduate programs in Nuclear science, Nuclear Engineering and other related disciplines
• To provide facilities for training for both undergraduate and post graduate students for peaceful applications of Nuclear technology
• Research and Development of Nuclear instruments, electronics and other associated nuclear devices for peaceful uses
• Organizing outreach programs in Secondary schools, higher institutions and any other institution/ organization to foster career in Nuclear science and technology
• Liaising with industries interested in Nuclear instruments and electronics for peaceful applications
• Organizing workshops, Seminars and Symposium
• Linkages with international research institutions and agencies like IAEA, AFRA, ICTP etc.
TRAINING CAPABILITIES OF CNEST STAFF
Training of Nuclear Engineers, Scientists, Technicians and Operators and Nuclear Scientists.
LABORATORIES LOCATED AT THE PERMANENT SITE
The Facilities in Laboratories/ Workshops under construction at permanent site of CNEST, Owerri include:
1. Simulation lab – these include:
• 3 KeyMaster generic PWR Simulation System,
• PRISM Software
• DYNCO Software
2. Neutronics lab – these include:
• Isotope Identifier
• Dielectric Probe kit
• DC power analyzer
• Data acquisition module
• Radiation detectors
• Special Detectors and Spectrometers
3. Electronic Design Workshop – these include
• Digital oscilloscopes
• Logic analyzer
• Digital Multimeter
• Function / Arbitrary Waveform generator
ACHIEVEMENTS/CURRENT ACTIVITIES AT CNEST
• Five research groups are working in various areas of Nuclear science and technology.
KIT Research Group
Adebeli Justina, Okonkwo J. Ifeanyi & Udeh Kingsley
1). Irradiation of Agricultural produce to improve inherent properties.
2). The impact of soil samples from uranium sites on human health and environment
YAT Research Group
Okomah Yvette, Bipeledei Amatari & Agbaraka Tochukwu
1). Quantitative analysis of Liquid and gaseous effluents from FUTO water Company
CAM Research Group
Osuji Charles, Onyema Austine & Ako Mirian
1). Modelling and Simulation of Hydrodynamics and Heat Transfer in Thermonuclear Experimental Reactors.
2). Radon Monitoring in mining sites around FUTO
LAJ Research Group
Chukwudobe Leo, Jennifer Akhigbe & Agbo Dominic
1). Increasing the parameters of the water coolant to supercritical parameters in light water nuclear reactors.
PACO Research Group
Ako Paul & Ogu Chibuike
1). Radiation Risk Assessment of Some Phone Base Stations in Ihiagwa, Owerri West LGA, Imo State
• Refurbished temporary CNEST office
• Capacity building Seminars and adaptation – on going
• Development of B.Sc. and B.Eng. curriculum in Nuclear Science and Engineering – on going
• Training of staff in different recognized institutions outside Nigeria – on going
• Collaboration with other Centre in the Host institution for capacity development – on going
• Advocacy visitation to secondary and tertiary institution – on going
LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE OF CNEST:
• Embark on income generation drive through linkages with donor agencies such as, IAEA, AFRA, UNIDO ETF, etc
• Education and training of staff
• Increase collaborations and synergy with other Centers
• IAEA trainings/conferences as well as annual professional bodies’ conferences
• Commencement of short training courses, undergraduate and post graduate programs in Nuclear Science and Engineering
CNEST presently comprise of the Director and thirteen member staff across board.