'Nuclear energy aiding vital sectors of society'

'Nuclear energy aiding vital sectors of society'

Former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission delivers talk at a seminar

Former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission of India Srikumar Banerjee, on Friday, asserted that nuclear energy is making significant contribution in the field of healthcare, education, food and energy sector.

Addressing the gathering during the opening of a two-day seminar on ‘Benefits of nuclear and material sciences in day-to-day life’ (BNMS-2015), organised by the University of Mysore in association with the Indian Nuclear Society, Mysuru chapter, at Rani Bahadur Auditorium in Manasagangotri, Banerjee said that when India was facing a shortage of equipment to treat cancer, the Bhabha Atomic Energy Research Centre (BARC) came out with its own product named ‘bhabhatron’. It was a time when there was a need for 1,000 units (equipment) in India and the country imported 300 units.

Banerjee felt that the idea of developing the equipment indigenously stemmed from the fact that radiation therapy was also essential to check the cells that develop cancer, apart from chemotherapy.

Similarly, in the food sector, there has been a significant contribution, especially with mutation of seeds. It includes those of groundnut and black gram, that have their roots in BARC. It was the result of effective collaboration with agriculture universities and in Karnataka, the Centre has an understanding with the University of Agriculture Sciences (UAS), Dharwad.

Banerjee, who delved into the growing demand for energy, pointed out that while the world average demand stands at 5,000 kV per hour, in India it is 700 kV per hour. However, the of late, the demand for energy is on the rise and it could be attributed to rapid industrialisation and advancements in the field of information technology where people can peek into the lifestyle of other countries from the comfort of their house. Any failure in addressing the demand may impede the development of the country. The demand cannot be addressed by fossil fuels alone and hence the need for alternative energy sources like wind and solar energy, he said.

Chairman of Indian Nuclear Society, Mumbai chapter, S A Bharadwaj said, a well-educated society is the need of the hour and the universities should produce a right mix of thinkers and innovators.

Explaining about the outreach activities of BARC, S Sarkar, in-charge of the centre in Mysuru, said, The centre is organising programmes in association with the Physics and Chemistry departments of the University of Mysore. “Science and engineering students have been visiting the institute to enrich their knowledge,” he added.