In the next 5 years, the Centre intends to concentrate on 4 main activities that have important applications for national development and can make the Centre self sustaining in terms of funding. These are:
B1 Mineral ores exploration and exploitation
Nigeria still has large reserves of solid minerals that have not been properly mapped and quantified. We in CERD are equipped with fast, efficient and reliable nuclear facilities for solid minerals identification and quantification. With our manpower and elemental analysis facilities, we will be of great use to the solid minerals prospecting companies. We have the capability of detecting and quantifying all metallic elements even in trace quantities including the precious metal – gold. The FN Tandem Accelerator is an indispensable tool in that it is fast, reliable and accurate for the determination of most minerals of commercial interest.
B2 Environment Pollution Control
Increasing concern for the devastating health impacts of environmental pollution makes pollutant monitoring and control a major issue in the new millennium. The CERD intends to position itself to be of valuable service by enhancing its analytical capability for trace metals, organics and other chemical contaminants in soil, water, air, flora and fauna. Towards this end, the existing AAS and XRF facilities will be provided with necessary supplies to serve as reference for other techniques. We also intend to install, commission and exploit the Gas Chromatograph – Mass Spectrometer (GC – MS) for which order has been placed. An auto analyzer and UV – Visible Spectrophotometer will also be acquired for the indispensable determination of organic toxins in the environment. Here again, the FN Tandem Accelerator will provide an unparalleled level of usefulness in determining very low levels for trace elements in environmental samples in a non-destructive way. All this way will enable us serve a reliable reference laboratory for environmental pollutant monitoring throughout the country.
B3 Medical Applications
Radiation application in Medicine, Agriculture and the Industry remains largely uncontrolled. Any meaningful radiation control will address Radioactive Waste Management, Radiation Dosimetry and Quality Assurance which only experienced and practising medical and radiation safety individuals as we have in the CERD safety individuals as we have in the CERD can handle. To date there are no known national records of measurements in these areas to guide in such control. However, in the past years the CERD safety staff had been invited by the Federal Government, FEPA and other government parastatals to monitor for radiation parts of the country. Between 1995 and now the CERD has been monitoring the diagnostic facilities in Oyo State with interesting findings. Presently we are running a consultancy for Naturally occurring radionuclides in the oil industry. But there are no national standards to follow. The CERD therefore, and based on the recommendations of the IAEA plans to do a national survey of environmental radiation and medical diagnostic radiation and establish national standards such as the national medical radiation per capita, and base level dose preparatory to establishing a Quality Control Measurement Programme in radiation facilities for the country.
B4 Materials Testing
Material testing is a fundamental aspect of any material industry since quality control assessment involving steel, alloys and ceramic materials is a necessity. Our team of experts in Materials Science and Electronics is in regular consultation with the Ajaokuta Steel Industry and the Steel Rolling Mills. Their direct relevance in Nigeria’s steel programme involves training of manpower in the area of quality control, refinement of test procedures and evaluation of component failures like the pipelines in the refineries, NEPA installations and metallurgical applications. We are also collaborating with some hospitals in using locally available clay materials for X-radiation shielding.
The available facilities at our disposal have been utilized to carry out tests at considerable level to investigate microstructural defects of components. Other tests are capable of revealing microstructural defects, and indeed for quality control will make use of universal testing machine (for both low and high temperature mechanical properties), and scanning or transmission electron microscope for microstructural examination at a higher sub-optical level.
We intend therefore, to have a good working relationship with the industries thereby bridging the artificial gap between the research institutions and the industries in the new millennium. When the research equipment mentioned above are procured and fully functional the expected gains will also be to provide the manpower, and set the steel industries and other allied materials industries in the right path for technological takeoff for self reliance and reliability of processed materials.