Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Research nuclear reactor: BARC campus in Visakhapatnam to have a nuclear reactor for research

By Syed Akbar
Visakhapatnam, Feb 22: Andhra Pradesh will finally get a nuclear reactor, though a research one. The country’s second research nuclear reactor will be set up in Visakhapatnam within the proposed campus of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in the port city.
There has been strong opposition from environmental groups to setting up of a nuclear reactor in the State. Though the Centre government has currently put on hold the proposal on a nuclear reactor, the BARC campus in Visakhapatnam will set up a research nuclear reactor. The research nuclear reactor will help young scientists and students of nuclear physics and chemistry for a hands-on training.
“There has been a proposal for a nuclear reactor in Andhra Pradesh. But it was met with a strong opposition. BARC will have its research nuclear reactor on its Visakhapatnam campus, which is fast coming up,” Dr V Venugopal, director of radiochemistry and Isotope Group, BARC.
He was addressing a group of 150 nuclear scientists and students of nuclear sciences at the inaugural of the 10th biennial symposium on nuclear and radiochemistry (Nucar – 2011) at GITAM deemed University here on Tuesday. Incidentally, the meeting coincides with the centenary year of the discovery of nucleus by Ernest Rutherford in 1911. Rutherford is regarded as the father of nuclear physics.
Emphasing the need for more nuclear energy to meet the acute electricity shortage in the country, he said India had a flourishing and largely indigenous nuclear power program to produce 20,000 MW nuclear energy in the next nine years, and 40,000 MW by 2032.
Dr Venugopal said the Central government would set up a global center for nuclear energy partnership in New Delhi to strengthen the country’s cooperation with the international community in the areas of advanced nuclear energy systems. Work on the proposed India Neutrino Observatory in Madurai will begin soon and once it is completed scientists will take up study to find out the origin of matter. It is a Rs 1,000 crore project.
Prof P Rama Rao, chairman of the Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences, Department of Atomic Energy, said his board had been continuously supporting research works in various universities and research institutions. He said Indian universities, particularly deemed universities, had been performing well thanks to the autonomy they enjoy. Referring to the nuclear programme, he said scientists in India were capable of handling challenges.
Earlier, the organizing committee of NUCAR-2011 honoured two eminent nuclear scientists. Dr RH Iyer, former head of radiochemistry division, Barc, received Dr MV Ramaniah Life Time Achievement Award, while Dr SV Narasimhan, power chemistry scientist from Barc, got Dr KS Venkateswarlu award.

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