Dr. Bhabha approached Sir Dorabji Tata Trust for starting nuclear research in India leading to the establishment of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, which was inaugurated on December 19, 1945. Atomic Energy Act was passed on April 15,1948 and Atomic Energy Commission was constituted on August 10, 1948 in order to intensify the studies related to the exploitation of nuclear energy for the benefit of the nation. Exhaustive survey for rare minerals and Uranium deposits started by Atomic Minerals Division and on August 18, 1959 Indian Rare Earths Ltd was set up for the chemical processing and recovery of rare earth compounds and Thorium-Uranium deposits. Atomic Energy Commission started Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay on January 3, 1954. Atomic Energy Commission functioning under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Scientific Research was brought under the Department of Atomic Energy from August 3, 1954 with Dr. Homi Bhabha as the Secretary to the Government of India for the department. Department of Atomic Energy functioned under the direct control of the Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and continued to remain under the direct charge of successive prime ministers since then. All scientists and engineers engaged in the fields of reactor design and development, instrumentation, metallurgy and material science etc were transferred along with their respective programme from TIFR to AEET to become an integral part of the newly created AEET. TIFR has become an institution fully dedicated to carry out fundamental research in Nuclear Science.
The Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET) was formally dedicated to the nation by the then Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru on January 20, 1957. Later, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi renamed AEET as Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) on January 22, 1967 as a fitting tribute to Dr. Homi Bhabha who died in an air crash on January 24, 1966. Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay has already made its impressions in the world of science as one of the unique nuclear research institution where high quality research and development is taking place in the areas of nuclear reactor design and installation, fuel fabrication, chemical processing of depleted fuel and also acquired sufficient expertise in the development of radioisotope application techniques in medicine, agriculture and industries. Basic and advanced research investigations were in full progress in nuclear physics, spectroscopy, solid state physics, chemical and life sciences, reactor engineering, instrumentation, radiation safety and nuclear medicine etc.
In a nutshell, BARC provides a broad spectrum of scientific and technological activities extending from basic laboratory bench scale research to scaled up plant level operations and its functional domain covers all walks of science and technology – stretching from classical school of thoughts to the emerging novel fields of interest. The core mandate of this institution is to provide Research and Development support required to sustain one of the major peaceful applications of nuclear energy viz. power generation. This includes conceptualization of the programme, finalisation of the design of the reactor and the peripheral components, preparation of computer generated working models and their evaluation studies under simulated reactor running conditions, identification, selection and testing of materials and components for their risk analysis under extreme conditions of reactor operating environments, development and testing of new reactor fuel materials etc. Besides, BARC also extends its expertise to chemical processing of spent fuels, safe disposal of nuclear waste besides developing new isotope application techniques in industries, medicine, agriculture etc. Advanced frontline research in physical, chemical and biological sciences are intensely being pursued in BARC in order to give the nation a cutting edge in the fields of science and technology at the international levels. Thus, BARC is a multifaceted institution wherein the in house research findings were further translated into the development stage and finally through successful demonstration phase is taken for deployment in the respective fields. Advanced equipments and instruments, well set laboratories, vibrant ambience and availability of expertise from all fields of science and engineering are the unique features of BARC committed in taking the nation to the new horizons of knowledge and development.