According to an official press release, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked the atomic energy establishment to present the human face of India’s capabilities in nuclear science to the world and extolled its success achieved despite years of international technology denial. He asked the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to make special efforts to expand its research and extend on a national scale applications of atomic science in areas like healthcare, waste management, water treatment, agriculture and food preservation.
The Prime Minister expressed these views during a visit to DAE in Mumbai where he was briefed by RK Sinha, Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, and other top officials and scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre on India's atomic energy programme. He was also told about DAE's extensive research and development and education programmes and its contributions in varied areas such as healthcare, especially cancer treatment, food security, solid waste management and water purification.
Modi reaffirmed his belief that energy security, which was increasingly based on clean and reliable sources, was the critical driver of India's rapid and sustained long term development. He saw an essential role for nuclear energy in India's energy strategy, given the scale of demand. He assured the DAE of his full support in the implementation of its ambitious expansion programme and expressed hope that it would meet the target of increasing the capacity by three times from the present level of 5780 MW by 2023-24 within the projected cost.
Underlining the importance of ensuring that nuclear energy remained commercially viable and competitive with other sources of clean energy in the long run, he also asked DAE to continually upgrade technology, both with regard to long term plans and international trends. DAE, he said, must also plan for ensuring adequate availability of skilled human resources in the country. Stressing that nuclear safety and security were of the highest priority for him, the Prime Minister asked DAE to ensure that the country's standards and practices were the most advanced in the world. He also asked DAE to pay special attention to the local communities in planning and implementing nuclear power projects
India's self-reliance in the nuclear fuel cycle and the commercial success of the indigenous reactors demonstrated that with vision, resolve and hard work, it could be a front ranking country in the most challenging fields, Modi said. The Prime Minister hoped that the role of industry in providing equipment and systems for the nuclear programme would continue to grow. He welcomed India's growing international partnership in the field of nuclear energy and hoped for timely implementation of the ongoing projects in a manner that they met the requirements of techno-economic viability and safety standards.
Technology transfer to India, he observed, was a vital element of his vision for international partnerships.
Modi lauded the contribution of DAE scientists in the critical area of cancer research and treatment through the Tata Memorial Hospital. He hoped that DAE would soon implement the planned projects in Chandigarh and Vishakapatnam and would take one of the most advanced standards of cancer treatment in Asia to other parts of India. Modi was apprised of the safety and security measures adopted by the DAE and India's excellent record in this regard.
During the visit, which lasted four hours, the Prime Minister was also shown some of DAE's most advanced facilities at BARC, including the Dhruva Research Reactor. Referring to the Diamond Jubilee of DAE, which falls on August 3, the Prime Minister asked the department to draw up a programme of year-long celebrations, with special focus on various human and developmental dimensions of atomic science with special outreach to the youth in schools and colleges.