By; KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Ahmadu Bello University’s Centre for Energy Research and Training (CERT) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have signed an agreement on participation in the Internet Reactor Laboratory (IRL) project on the use of research reactor for nuclear courses at the university level.
A statement from the Public Affairs Directorate, Office of the Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, dated Tuesday September 27, 2022, said that IAEA’s Internet Reactor Laboratory Project is a cost-effective way to educate groups of students in reactor physics, and will assist Nigeria in development of the human capital needed for nuclear science and technology programmes.
The agreement was signed on Monday, 26th September, 2022 at the ongoing 66th Annual Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference in Vienna, Austria.
The Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. Kabiru Bala, signed the agreement on behalf of the Centre and Nigeria, while Deputy Director-General, Nuclear Energy, IAEA, Mr. Mikhail Chudakov stood in for IAEA.
The project was facilitated by the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), and it presents a unique opportunity for the research and teaching staff as well as cooperating universities to participate in human capacity building in the field of nuclear reactor physics and engineering.
IAEA’s internet reactor laboratory (IRL) enables live immersion into reactor technology and operation to countries that otherwise have no installed facilities, but have groups of students ready to undertake experimental reactor physics courses.
It works by giving access to reactor experiments in a remote location via an internet link. Using hardware and software installed in a research reactor in the host state, signals are sent over the internet to the guest institution, where a real-time display of the reactor’s control room is visible to students.
Then, using video conference equipment, students at the guest institution can intereact with operators in the reactor control room to conduct experiements.
Under the agreement, ABU’s Centre for Energy Research and Training shall participate as a guest institution in the project in order to develop and strengthen nuclear education capacities in Nigeria and African sub-region. This is on the strength that IAEA appreciates the long standing and proven reputation of CERT in the field of theoretical and experimental physics.
IAEA is to provide the necessary equipment for CERT in accordance with the technical equipment specifications, as well as provide advice and assistance to CERT on the structure and scheduling of laboratory experiments, and any other matters regarding the implementation of the project, where requested by CERT.
On its part, CERT is to, among others, install and maintain, at its own cost, the video conference equipment provided by the IAEA, as well as any other hardware or software which may be necessary for the implementation of the project.
The Centre is to also ensure that the laboratory room at CERT has adequate internet connectivity to allow for the receipt of internet data packages and video calls between the Centre and the host reactor.
The Director-General, Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), Dr. Idris Yau; Chairman, Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), Prof. Yusuf Ahmed; Nigeria’s Ambassador to Austria, Mr. Suleiman Umar; and Director, Centre for Energy Research and Training (CERT), Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. S.A. Jonah, witnessed the agreement signing.