The Department of Atomic Energy, the government department that is engaged in the development of nuclear power technology in India, was formed on 3rd August 1954. This is an important topic for the IAS exam science and technology segment.
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Department of Atomic Energy
- The Atomic Energy Bill was passed by the Parliament in 1948. Subsequent to that, the Atomic Energy Commission was set up with the first chairman being Homi Bhabha.
- After that in 1954, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was established with the following objectives:
- Generating electricity from nuclear energy through the use of the naturally available uranium and thorium in India
- Building research reactors and implementing the radioisotopes produced in reactors for application in the fields of agriculture, industry and medicine
- Developing advanced technology in domains like lasers, accelerators, information technology and biotechnology
- Developing materials including strategic and non-nuclear ones like titanium
- Playing a role in national security
- Contributing to industrial development by promoting technology transfers and interaction with the industry
- Offering support to fundamental research in nuclear energy and other areas in science
- Coordinating with academic institutions to enhance the quality of education and research and also offering research grants to these institutions
- Promoting international collaboration in fields of advanced research and in big science projects
- Bhabha fostered the development of the Indian nuclear program and as a result of his vision and the work of several scientists in the field, India is the only developing country that is self-reliant in nuclear technology. This is despite the presence of many international technology control regimes in the nuclear arena.
- Apart from developing nuclear technology, the DAE is also in charge of developing radiation technology for applications in the fields of medicine, industry, agriculture and basic sciences.
- The apex body of the DAE is the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).
- The DAE is headquartered in Mumbai. The department executive is the Chairman of the AEC, who is the ex officio executive head of the department. Currently, the post is held by Dr. Sekhar Basu (Secretary, Atomic Energy).
- This department is directly under the Prime Minister of the country.
- This department has 6 research institutions, 5 public sector companies, 3 industrial organisations, 3 service organisations and 3 universities under it. The DAE also supports many other research institutes of eminence in India.
- The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) located in Mumbai is under the DAE.
- The universities under it are Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai; Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Hyderabad & Mumbai.
- Some of the other institutes the DAE supports are: National Board for Higher Mathematics (NBHM), New Delhi; Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai; Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences, Mumbai; Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar, Institute for Plasma Research, Gandhinagar to name a few.
- The DAE is responsible for the country achieving a high level of indigenisation in the nuclear technology and nuclear fuel cycle.
- The total number of employees in the DAE is classified information and the annual budget is Rs.12461 crore.
- The minister responsible for the DAE is the current PM, Shri Narendra Modi.
- The deputy minister is Shri Jitendra Singh, the Minister of State for the PMO. The parent department of the DAE is the PMO.
Also on this day
1780: The British captured the Gwalior Fort. 1985: Baba Amte received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for public service. 1998: ‘Akash’ the medium-range surface-to-air missile test-fired at Chandipur.
See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.
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