Tuesday, May 4, 2010



India's atomic research programme is committed to peaceful uses only,

for example, atomic power, generation of electricity, development of

agriculture and industry, medical science applications, etc. India's

journey to atomic energy research started with establishment of

the Atomic Energy Commission on August 10, 1948, under the

chairmanship of Dr Homi J. Bhabha. Subsequently, the Department of

Atomic Energy (DAE) was established in 1956, with the following


(i) To generate safe, economic electrical power from nuclear


(ii) To build research reactors and to utilize the radioisotopes

produced in these reactors for application in the field of

agriculture and medicine.

(iii) To develop advanced technology in areas such as

accelerators, lasers, biochemistry, information technology and

material including development of non-nuclear and strategic

materials like titanium.

(iv) To encourage technology transfers and interaction with

industry for industrial and social development.

(v) To provide necessary support to basic research in nuclear

energy and related fields of science.

(vi) To encourage international cooperation in advanced are of

research and in mega-science projects to realize the benefits

of state-of-the-art science and technologies.

First Nuclear Implosion

It was carried out on May 18, 1974, at Pokhran to Rajasthan desert. The

main objective was use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, that is.,

digging canals, reservoirs, oil explorations as well as to study rock

dynamics. This successful implosion made India the sixth nuclear nation

in the world.



Atomic Energy Commission: Established in 1948, with Dr H.J. Bhabha

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as its first Chairman to look after India's atomic energy activities.

Department of Atomic Energy (DAE): Set up in August 1954, for

implementation of atomic energy programmes, headed by the Prime

Minister of India. It has five research centres:

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC): Established in 1957, it is

located at Trombay (Maharashtra), and is India's, largest atomic research

centre, for R&D.

BARC's Atomic Reactors

(i) Apsara:

India's first atomic reactor was commissioned on August 4, 1956. One

megawatt swimming pool type reactor produces radio isotopes. It is

also the first atomic reactor in Asia.

(ii) Circus(Canada-India-Reactor)

Built in 1960, it is a 40 megawatt reactor.

(iii) Zerlina(Zero Energy Reactor for Lattice Investigation

and New Assemblies)

It was commissioned on January 4, 1961 and used for studies of

uranium heavy water lattice.

(iv) Dhruva

Commissioned on August 15, 1984, this 100 megawatt reactor is a

completely indigenous nuclear reactor with most advanced laboratories

in the world.

(v) Purnima–I(Plutonium Reactor for Neutronic

Investigation in Multiplaying Assemblies)

Commissioned on May 22, 1972, plutonium fuelled reactor, modified as

Purnima-II that used uranium as fuel and it is being further modified

as Purnima-III.

(vi) Kamini


India's first fast breeder neutron reactor, it has been set up at

Kalpakkam. Today India is the seventh country in the world and the

first in developing nations to have mastered the fast breeder reactor


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Apsara and Circus produce 350 different types of radioactive products and

some of them are exported to developed countries like France, Sweden,

Denmark, Australia etc.

BARC's Research Centers

Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research Established in 1971 it is

located at Kalpakkam (Chennai). The centre carries out research and

development of indigenous technology of sodium cooled fast breeder

reactors (FBTR). The centre constructed a 40 MW thermal FBTR and 13

MW electrical FBTR, and was commissioned in December 1985. India is

now the first country in developing countries and seventh in the world to

have developed FBTR technology.

Centre for Advanced Technology (CAT) Established in 1984 it is

located at Indore. The centre carries out research and development of

high technology in fields like lasers, fusion and accelerators. Synchrotron

Radium Sources (SRS) Indus–I and Indus–2 are being constructed by


Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC) VECC is situated in Calcutta

and it delivers beams of nuclear particles for research in nuclear sciences

and produces isotopes for various applications. It also comes under the

administration of BARC.

Atomic Minerals Division (AMD) It is situated in Hyderabad and is

engaged in exploration of Atomic minerals. AMU has discovered reserves

of 78,000 Tonnes of uranium oxide and has led to opening of uranium

mine at Jaduguda, Bhatin and Narwapahar in Bihar. Also, it has

discovered Uranium ore at Domiasiat (Meghalaya), Lambapur–Yellapur

and Tummalapalle in Andhra Pradesh.

Nuclear Power Projects

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPC), set up in September

1987, is responsible the year for the design, construction and operation of

nuclear power plants in the country. It is envisaged that by the year

2000, India's atomic power generation would be 10,000 MW. Nuclear

power is cheaper than thermal power. A unit of electricity from a

nuclear power plant cost around 4–60 paise, whereas thermal


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power cost 60–90 paise.

First Rice Straw Power Plant A 10 MW power plant using surplus rice

straw as fuel, the first project of its kind in the world, has been set up at

Jalkheri (Punjab). It is a joint venture of the department of nonconventional

energy sources, Punjab State Electricity Board and Bharat

Heavy Electricals Limited. The Plant became operational from November


Ocean Waves Energy Project India's first ocean wave energy project

was launched in 1991, at Vizhinjam near Thiruvananthapuram. It is

implemented jointly by Ocean Engineering Centre, IIT Madras and State

Harbour Engineering Department. It is claimed that the wave energy unit

is the first of its kind in the world because it is a multipurpose project and

floats on the seabed. As power generation depends on the inexhaustible

ocean waves, it is possible to generate power throughout the year.

Pokhran Tests On May 18, 1974: India had conducted a peaceful

underground nuclear experiment at Pokhran in Rajasthan desert. After a

gap of 24 years, India has successfully conducted 5 nuclear tests on May

11 and 13, 1998 at the Pokhran Range. The first three detonations took

place simultaneously at 15:45 hrs IST on May 11, 1998. These included a

thermonuclear device and a sub-kiloton nuclear device. The two nuclear

devices, fired on May 13, at 12:21 hrs IST, were also sub-kiloton yield

range. Many experiments were fielded for equation of state

measurements and also for calibration of ground motion and

hydrodynamic yield measuring set ups.

India's Oceanographic Research Programme

Set up

The Department of Oceanographic Development was established 1981, to

promote research and development in the marine sector. Since then

considerable research work has been done which included the Antarctic

Research Programme.


Antarctic Research Programme Antarctic, the last continent explored

by man, was discovered by Captain John Davis, an American hunter, on

February 7, 1821. It has a landmass of about 14 million km2 situated

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almost circulatory around the South Pole. Only 5 per cent of the land is

visible and the rest is covered by a vast stretch of ice going to a depth of

about 2000 m. It has immense value and potential of marine and mineral


Research Programme: The first expedition landed on December 6,

1981, since then several expeditions have been made on a regular on a

regular basis. India was accorded 'pioneer status' by the UN Conference

on the Laws of the Sea in April 1982. On August 17, 1987, the country

was registered as a 'pioneer investor' and a marine site of 1,50,000 km2

in Central Indian Ocean basin was allotted to carry on the research and

development work. India is the first developing country to have received

this registration and the first country in the world to have secured

registration of the marine site.


'Trishna' is a 37 feet cube fiberglass yacht which sailed around the

world manned by the officers of the Corps of Engineers of the

Indian Army. It sailed from Mumbai on September 29, 1985 and

covered a distance of 30,000 nautical miles in 15 months before

completing its journey at Colombo on December 21, 1980.

This was the first expedition undertaken by the Indians to circumnavigate

the earth.

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