India’s achievements in the fields of Nuclear Science and Technology are well accepted and acknowledged at the international level. Excellent infrastructure and years of dedicated research and development activities vigorously pursued by India has directly resulted in making significant progress in nuclear power generation and allied fields and attaining scientific and technological self reliance. Exhaustive and comprehensive research and development studies in the fields of Nuclear Power and Reactor Technologies, Isotope Applications and Radiation Technologies, Accelerator and Laser Technology Programme, Health and Safety aspects of radiation are carried out at the four R&D centers viz. BARC, IGCAR, VECC and RRCAT by DAE. Strong emphasis on basic and applied research in a number of core disciplines in Science and Engineering has enabled a significant level of synergy between growth of technology and basic research in these institutions, benefiting not only Atomic Energy, but also a number of other sectors.
Some of the significant achievements in areas other than power generation include
- Development of 40 different varieties of high yield seeds through radiation induced mutation.(20 of pulses, 15 of ground nut, 3 of mustard and 1 each of rice and jute).
- In the medical applications of radioisotopes – six lakhs patients undergoing diagnostic investigations and 15-20 lakhs patients receiving radiation therapy every year through dedicated and affiliated centres.
- In the industrial applications of radioisotopes scenes - ~1000 industrial radiographic cameras are in routine use. Digital Radiography and Tomography technique has been developed and used in Non-Destructive Testing procedures. Hydrology and tracer applications also has made a significant progress in carrying out underground leak detection, silt movement studies in harbours as well as mapping of ground water resources and their courses. Investigations of complex flow system such as FCCUs, coal gasifiers, trickle bed reactors etc using radiotracer techniques, Radioactive Particle Tracking Technique for flow visualization and design evaluation of process systems , Radiotracer technique for wear rate measurement of marine paints, Development of nanotracers for high temperature applications and Production and application of gaseous radiotracers are the new applications under development.
Research Reactors: Provides an ideal platform for basic and applied research in a number of disciplines.
The research reactors have been used for
- Test irradiation of nuclear fuel, for developing structural materials, components for reactors, and for training personnel needed to operate the power stations.
- Extensive research in fission physics, solid state physics and radiation chemistry
DHRUVA Reactor at BARC was designed, constructed and commissioned by Indian Engineers and scientists. Natural U is the fuel used and heavy water as moderator and coolant, Dhruva enabled India to attain self sufficiency in the production of radioisotopes
Kamini, a 30 kWt reactor at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research at Kalpakkam, achieved criticality in October 1996 for providing neutron radiography facilities and is a small but significant step towards utilisation of our vast thorium reserves. It is the only operating reactor in the world using U233 fuel. Some of the larger facilities built by DAE are now available to university researchers through Inter-university Consortium for DAE facilities.