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
(5) of (9)
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
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.
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.
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
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
(6) of (9)
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
(7) of (9)
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
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
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
(8) of (9)
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