Although Thailand’s first attempt to “go nuclear” in the late 1960s abruptly ended with the discovery of natural gas in the Gulf of Thailand, the initiative led to the start of a formal nuclear education in Thailand.
In 1968, the first nuclear training program was created under a collaboration between the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) and the Office of Atomic Energy for Peace (OAEP) with a goal to educate EGAT’s engineers on the basic nuclear knowledge prior to sending them abroad to receive specific training on nuclear power plant. The training was developed and supervised by Prof. Suwan Sangpetch from the Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, and was organized into a one-year (two-semester) program.
In 1970, the Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University officially adopted the program, and converted it into a one-year certificate program which was open to the public. In response to the suggestion of Dr. Morton E. Wacks from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the program should be expanded to answer the demand of the society for nuclear technology in other fields as well, not only in nuclear power, the university decided in 1972 to created a master’s degree and a diploma programs in nuclear technology.
Initially, the two nuclear technology programs were placed under the Department of Sanitary Engineering. However, in 1973 the responsibility was transferred to the newly created Nuclear Technology Unit, thus marking the official establishment of the present Department of Nuclear Engineering.
Since then, the unit has transformed into the full fledge Department of Nuclear Technology, and underwent many program changes. The diploma program was stopped, and a new master’s degree in nuclear engineering was created. The first doctoral program in nuclear engineering was also established in 1997. So far, over 200 students have graduated from the department.
In 2011, the department’s name was officially changed to Department of Nuclear Engineering under the recommendation from the faculty to create uniformity among all the names of the departments in the Faculty of Engineering. Nevertheless, the word NuTech (short for Nuclear Technology) is still being used as its acronym until today.
The present Department of Nuclear Engineering offers programs leading to degrees in Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Master of Engineering (M.Eng.), and Master of Science (M.Sc.). The programs are structured to cover diversified principles of nuclear technology ranging from fundamental science and mathematics to specialized engineering applications. Areas of concentrations include nuclear power engineering, industrial applications of radioisotope, nuclear instrumentation, radioisotope production, radiation processing, environment and safety, nuclear materials, and the newly created nuclear security and safeguards. Most of the graduates entered the government institutions such as Office of Atoms for Peace (OAP), Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), public and private universities partly in the area of medical science.
In order to ensure our leading role in nuclear engineering and technology education in Thailand and in the region, the department has established collaboration with outside institutions, including
- Office of Atoms for Peace (OAP)
- Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology (TINT)
- Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT)
- Other national universities
- Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
- Korea Advance Institute of Science and Technology, Japan
- University of Tokai, Japan
- National Institute of Radiological Science (NIRS), Japan
- Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Canada
- Department of Oceanography, Florida State University, USA
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Department of Energy, USA
- Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Japan
- Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Korea
Our programs are constantly updated according to the international standard (e.g. the IAEA’s recommendation) and evaluated by the university board and the Office of the Higher Education Commission.