Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has successfully positioned India as an important contributor in harnessing the power and usefulness of atoms and associated technologies. Established in the year 1954, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) started its journey with a promise of ushering India to a brighter future under the farsighted leadership of Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha. The DAE has been following a well-focused mandate of developing and establishing indigenous technological base for deriving sustainable benefits from nuclear applications, both for power production and for a wide range of societal applications. DAE comprises a well-balanced combination of R&D centres, public sector undertakings, industrial organisations and education and academic institutions including a number of aided institutions involved in fundamental research and education. Societal initiatives, environmental stewardship and community development have always been intrinsic to the programmes of the Department. DAE has successfully developed several indigenous technologies that have catalysed the growth of India. Interestingly, many of these technologies are also being provided to other nations, true to the spirit of civil-nuclear cooperation. NUCLEAR POWER Since its inception, DAE has realised the need to reduce carbon emission and dependence on fossil fuels to produce electricity. The Department spearheads the development of nuclear technology to fulfil India’s increasing energy needs. Currently, it operates 21 nuclear reactors spread across various states of the country producing 5780 MWe of clean energy. The most recent addition of the two 1000 MWe plants at Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu are KKNPP Unit 2 has been dedicated to the Indo-Russian Friendship and Cooperation jointly by the Hon’ble Prime Minster, Shri Narendra Modi and the Hon’ble President of Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir Putin India’s largest electricity units. The second 1000 MWe nuclear reactor of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) has attained its 100% power generation capacity on 21.01.2017. The first similar reactor is already functional and supplying clean power to Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. To meet the rapidly growing demand of electricity coupled with the aspirations of having clean power, DAE is currently constructing 10 more nuclear reactors, adding 7.7 GWe energy and targets augmentation of 2.5 to 3 GWe capacity per year for next 15 to 20 years.
DAE has developed a healthcare ecosystem of radiation-based techniques for diagnosis and therapy of cancer, making modern treatment accessible across the country. Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), the premier cancer treatment institute of DAE dedicated to cancer treatment, education and research is also extending the reach of affordable cancer treatment by establishing smaller centres based on hub and spoke model across the country.
Bhabhatron, the completely indigenous cancer therapy machine, is one of the successful products developed by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), the leading R&D centre of DAE. India continues to extend its cancer diagnosis and treatment expertise to other needy countries by supplying the Bhabhatron
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
Using mutation breeding and hybridisation techniques, DAE has developed advanced crops that are disease-resistant and have enhanced yield. It is important to note that these crops are not same as genetically modified ones. Radiation techniques are also used in increasing the shelf life of fruits, vegetables and spices. In fact, many developed countries have made DAE radiation treatment an integral part of their import standards.
Interesting Facts About DAE
§ India has gifted indigenously developed Bhabhatron cancer therapy machines to various countries
§ A groundnut variety developed by DAE has a yield five times that of the national average
§ Irradiation of fruits like mangoes and litchi has opened new trade opportunities for Indian cultivators § Radiation is used to hygienise sewage sludge to produce green manure
§ Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) is developed by DAE § Nuclear power is the biggest source of clean energy with no harmful emissions
In a novel use of residual heat from the nuclear power plants, seawater is made potable in the world’s largest nuclear desalination plant at Kalpakkam. DAE has also developed several low-cost water purification technologies, for both domestic and community use. Using isotope hydrology techniques, DAE has successfully traced groundwater resources for irrigation and domestic use.
NISARGRUNA, the decentralised urban waste management system converts bio-waste into cookinggas. It has been successfully adopted by several community kitchens across the country. The Department fosters technologies for eco-friendly disposal of biomedical and hygienisation of sewage sludge which is subsequently converted it into green manure.
RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
Over six decades of sustained and indefatigable pursuit of identified self-reliant goals and targets has converted a solemn beginning into a formidable science and technology establishment and has delivered a spectrum of cuttingedge solutions that go beyond nuclear power and serve the society at large. DAE is involved in pure and applied R&D to remain in the forefront of science and technology and encourages curiosity driven research towards intellectual investment for understanding the fundamental processes and advancements, and creation of excellent talented research acumen in the country.
Today, India stands tall and proud in the world nuclear community due to deliveries achieved through entirely selfreliant and sustainable strategies of DAE. The synergy between the units of the Department and exchange of ideas has made DAE a force-multiplier in India’s progressiveness.
The Vibrant DAE Family RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT UNITS
§ Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai
§ Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam
§ Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre, Kolkata
§ Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore
§ Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research, Hyderabad
§ Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership, Bahadurgarh