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DELSU Moves To Establish Nuclear Research Centre

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By Ben Nwanne

The Vice Chancellor of Delta State University, Abraka (DeLSU), Prof. Andy Egwunyenga, has disclosed that the institution would soon initiate efforts to establish a Nuclear Research Centre.

The Centennial (100th) inaugural lecture of the Delta State University, Abraka (DELSU) got underway on Thursday with the announcement that the University would soon establish a Nuclear Research Centre.

Egwunyenga made the disclosure on Thursday during the Centennial (100th) inaugural lecture of DELSU delivered by Prof. Chukwuka Mokobia, a Professor of Environmental and Health Physics (Radiation Protection) in the Department of Physics.

The announcement was in acceptance of one of the recommendations made by Mokobia in his lecture titled “My Three Arrows: A Victory Over Cyberphobia”.

Egwunyenga explained that the University was mature enough to have a Nuclear Research Centre and as such would  begin the process of achieving the scientific feat by presenting it before senate and the University’s Governing Council.

Presenting his Inaugural Lecture, Mokobia recalled his initial difficulty of grappling with the challenge of operating a computer.

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However, he explained that his registration for an M.Phil Programme at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife gave him an opportunity to identify and understand the problem.

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According to him, the challenge had to do with Cyberphobia, connoting an extreme fear of anything called computer.

“Following the discovery, I braced up and took necessary steps towards freedom”, he told his audience at the 750 Hall A at Site 3.

“This victory made me more skilled. It also boosted my research and teaching”.

Bouyed up by a higher digital capacity, Mokobia said that his Academic investigations/researches were enhanced  by what he called “three arrows” directed “towards environmental radiation measurement, identification of prospective local dosimeters and the provision of radiology that will boost the already available ones in the Nigerian Radiation Protection Space”.

Given the need for the audience to understand the key word radiation, the two-time Head of Department of Physics, defined it to mean “when energy is conveyed from a body through some medium”, adding that “it can be in the form of waves or particles and can belong to any of the four identified classes as particulate, electromagnetic, gravitational and acoustic”.

The Physicist of note, who until recently was Director of Pre-Degree studies at DELSU, explained the applications of radiation to different aspects of life, including food irradiation, which serves the purposes of purification, storage and packaging; nuclear gauging, which is about the measurement of physical parameters, such as thickness, density, moisture content of varying materials; in oil and gas sector where specific radionuclides are used in prospecting.

He also added that the application of radiation in Medicine meant that various nuclear materials and techniques were employed in diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of ailments; in Agriculture where radiation is used to determine the suitability of soil for planting, to produce improved crop varieties and to preserve crops before planting and for security and other activities.

The amiable Mokobia who has published over 50 articles in reputable journals nationally and internationally presented his research activities and the conclusions drawn from them.

For example, his work on Radiometric assessment of the radiological health implications associated with the exploitation of the major Nigerian fossil fuels came up with the conclusion that “since each of the mean radiological health parameters obtained in this investigation is below the appropriate radiation protection stipulated value, the radiological health consequence associated with the major Nigerian fossil fuel is insignificant”.

Another research done with others is the measurement of the indoor radon concentration in houses of some communities in Delta Central of Delta State, using a radon meter.

Reporting the conclusion, the Professor noted, “Results show that the average radon concentrations, the effective dose to the lungs and the whole body are each less than their respective internationally recommended values”.

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