Addressing a press conference in New Delhi to highlight the achievements of the Department of Atomic Energy during one year in office of the present Government, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh disclosed that decks have been cleared for the first-ever atomic energy plant to be set up in Haryana. He said that the northern States of Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were so far somehow not actively involved in the atomic energy programme of India which was hitherto confined mostly to other parts of the country and therefore, with this new initiative, India’s atomic energy programme has assumed a pan-India visibility.
Dr. Jitendra Singh said that during his first-ever visit to Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) as Prime Minister in the month of July last year, Shri Narendra Modi had set a target before the scientists for increasing India’s nuclear energy capability to three times within next ten years and with the new Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor to be set up under Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojana (GHAVP), a rapid step forward will be accomplished in the direction of achieving such similarity in the times to come. He said that only yesterday, the Department of Atomic Energy succeeded in launching an insurance pool of Rs.1500 Cr and with this, the decks have been cleared for further progress in installing a Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor with a capacity of two units of 700 MW each in Gorakhpur, Haryana. This reactor is expected to get commissioned by 2022 or 2023, he added.
Another major announcement made by Dr. Jitendra Singh was that, since Department of Atomic Energy was one of the rare departments of Government of India which had its headquarters in Mumbai and not in the Union Capital of Delhi, it has been planned to shortly set up a centre called “Hall of Nuclear Power” at the New Delhi Science Centre at Pragati Maidan in the heart of the Union Capital. This will not only establish the visibility of Department of Atomic Energy in the national capital, but will also help in spreading public awareness about the kind of work and accomplishments being done by the Indian nuclear scientists.
Giving credit to extraordinary patronage and encouragement to science activities from Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, it was during Prime Minister’s recent visit to Canada that a deal was accomplished to obtain 3000 tons of uranium over the next five years and during his earlier trip to France, a pre-engineering agreement was signed between NPCIL of India and Areva Company of France while another one between Larsen & Toubro and Areva, which would greatly improve India’s capability to develop its own indigenous components and heavy water reactor in line with “Make in India” goal.
It was a coincidence, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, that he was destined to be a part of the Department of Atomic Energy during the year when Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is observing its Diamond Jubilee having been established by the legendary scientist, Dr. Homi J. Bhabha 60 years ago. It is a tribute to Dr. Bhabha and a credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that during the last few months, Department of Atomic Energy has enabled India to assume a leadership role in the Southeast Asia through a series of landmark developments, including an atomic energy agreement with Sri Lanka in February 2015 and very recently last month, the decision to set up tele-therapy facility for cancer patients in Mangolia.
Secretary Department of Atomic Energy Dr. R.K. Sinha, Director BARC Sekhar Basu, CMD NPCIL K.C. Purohit and DG PIB Frank Noronha were also present at the conference.