The Federal government selection of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria as a Centre of Excellence in nuclear technology in 1976, and subsequent enactment of decrees No. 46 (1976), No. 62 (1979) and the amendments therein, No. 32 (1988) and No. 19 (1989) and the decree No. 19 (1995) were the catalysts that gave impetus to the establishment of Nuclear Science Research Programme in Ahmadu Bello University.
The Nuclear science programme in ABU commenced with the inauguration of the Nuclear Science Programme Steering Committee (NSPSC) that initiated a lot of spade of works including awareness programme on Nuclear Science, recruitment of personnel for the Nuclear programme, training and retraining of personnel, development of infrastructures acquisition of pieces of equipment for the Nuclear Programme and development of policy guidelines that laid a solid foundation for the programme.
To promote the application of nuclear science and technology by providing facilities for training of Nigerians for the development of agriculture, health, mineral resources, industries, power supply and other sectors of the Nigerian economy; to provide high level training and development of strategic personnel in collaboration with the international community/agencies; to conduct research in nuclear science and technology for the advancement of knowledge
CERT is to be a Centre of Excellence that shall provide facilities for the training of Nigerians at all levels of energy matters, nuclear science and technology. It shall also conduct basic and applied research in nuclear science and technology, develop nuclear instrumentation and control devices. The Centre is to serve as a place for dissemination and documentation of knowledge in energy, nuclear science and technology.