- Various organizations.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: About BARC, atomic energy potential of the country and its significance.
Context: New Director to BARC.
- The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is India’s premier nuclear research facility headquartered in Trombay, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
- It is a multi-disciplinary research centre with extensive infrastructure for advanced research and development covering the entire spectrum of nuclear science, engineering and related areas.
- BARC has designed and built India’s first Pressurised water reactor at Kalpakkam, a 80MW land based prototype of INS Arihant’s nuclear power unit, as well as the Arihant’s propulsion reactor.
Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha conceived the Nuclear Program in India. Dr Bhabha established the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) for carrying out nuclear science research in 1945. To intensify the effort to exploit nuclear energy for the benefit of the nation, Dr Bhabha established the Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET) in January 1954 for multidisciplinary research program essential for the ambitious nuclear program of India. AEET was later renamed Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).
- BARC’s core mandate is to sustain peaceful applications of nuclear energy, primarily for power generation.
- It manages all facts of nuclear power generation, from theoretical design of reactors to, computerised modelling and simulation, risk analysis, development and testing of new reactor fuel materials, etc.
- It also conducts research in spent fuel processing, and safe disposal of nuclear waste.
- Its other research focus areas are applications for isotopes in industries, medicine, agriculture, etc. BARC operates a number of research reactors across the country.
Significance and potential of atomic energy:
Atomic Energy has a key role in reducing the carbon intensity of the overall Power sector of India. Coal based thermal power contributes 186,293 MW (July 2016), 61% of the total installed power while renewables and nuclear contribute 44,237 MW (14.5%) and 5,780 MW (1.9%) respectively.
While renewable sources of energy are environment friendly, they are intermittent sources of power. Nuclear power, being a non-intermittent and concentrated source of power with negligible carbon footprint, is an essential component of the Indian power-mix to meet the International environmental commitments of India.