Nuclear India

Published by the
Department of Atomic Energy
Government of India
VOL. 35/NO. 1-2/July-August 2001



BARC Develops 15 Gigaflop Supercomputer



The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has developed 84-node Anupam supercomputer that can give a sustained speed of 15 giga floating point instructions per second. The present supercomputer has been configured using industry standard Pentium-III 600 mega hertz personal computers. The computational nodes of this supercomputer are interconnected providing inter-node communication for supercomputing and 100 mbps fast ethernet network for communication with the file servers. The current 84 node Anupam computer is almost 500 times faster than the first supercomputer built in 1991.


The Anupam series of supercomputers are widely used by BARC and other research institutions for solving various complex computational problems. They find application in studies on molecular dynamics stimulation, crystal structure analysis, gamma ray simulation and laser atom interaction computation.


BARC had initiated research and development in the field of supercomputers based on parallel processing techniques in mid-1991. The first parallel supercomputer Anupam 860/4 – a four-node system, developed in December 1991 gave a sustained speed of 30 million flops.


DAE Felicitates Padma Awardees - 2001


From left: Shri V. K. Chaturvedi, Prof. S. P. Sukhatme, Dr. Bikash Sinha, Prof. M. M. Sharma, Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Prof. P. Rama Rao, Shri B. Bhattacharjee, Prof. M. S. Raghunathan and Dr. (Ms.) K. A. Dinshaw


A function to felicitate the Padma awardees from the Department of Atomic Energy during 2001 was held on June 21, 2001, at the Homi Bhabha Auditorium, TIFR, Mumbai. Dr M. M. Sharma, FRS, Former Director, University Department of Chemical Technology (UDCT), Mumbaiwas the Chief Guest. Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission & Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy presided over the function


Dr. M. M. Sharma who was honored with Padma Vibhushan in 2001 was felicitated by Dr. Anil Kakodkar. Others who were felicitated were Prof. P. Rama Rao, Vice-Chancellor, Hyderabad University and Chairman of the Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences (BRNS)-DAE (Padma Bhushan), and the following Padma Shri awardees - Prof. S. P. Sukhatme, Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Mumbai, Shri B. Bhattacharjee, Director, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, Shri V. K. Chaturvedi, Chairman & Managing Director, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd., Mumbai, Dr. Bikash Sinha, Director, Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre & Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata, Prof. M. S. Raghunathan, FRS, Professor of Eminence, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, and Dr. K. A. Dinshaw, Director, Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai. Prof. Ashoke Sen, FRS, DAE - Homi Bhabha Chair Professor, Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad could not be present at the function being away on a lecture tour to USA.


Superconducting Cyclotron Utilization Plan


S. Bhattacharya and R. K. Bhandari
Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre, Kolkata


The K500 superconducting cyclotron (SCC) being built at the Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre, Kolkata will deliver a large variety of accelerated particle beams over wide range of energies (up to ~80 MeV protons, ~10-80 MeV/nucleon medium heavy ions with mass A ??60 and ~5-20 MeV/nucleon heavier ions). The superconducting cyclotron is expected to be commissioned in the year 2005 and would be the main centre of intermediate energy nuclear physics research in India in the coming decade. Apart from basic nuclear physics research, the intermediate energy particle beams from the cyclotron will also be used to generate multidisciplinary research activities in the frontline areas of condensed matter physics, nuclear chemistry, biology, proton therapy, cross-section measurements relevant to such as accelerator driven systems.


The sophisticated Superconducting Cyclotron (SCC) under construction at VECC is poised to make a new beginning in the studies on intermediate energy heavy ion physics in the country. In addition to the basic science applications, the cyclotron will also boost research in hi-tech areas such as cryogenic technology, radiation damage studies related to materials used in nuclear power reactors and proton therapy in the medical field.


The accelerator will be housed in a building with 3.5-metre thick concrete walls. Its main magnet will have a pole diameter of 142 cm and will generate a maximum of 5.9 tesla (a unit of magnetic flux) of magnetic field. The maximum magnetic field in the existing room temperature cyclotron (VEC) is about 2.1 tesla. The main superconducting coil will be immersed in 300 liters of liquid helium inside a sophisticated cryostat assembly. The magnet frame weighing about 100 tones is made of special magnetic steel with low carbon percentage. The 42,000-meter long superconducting cable will contain about 500 niobium-titanium (Nb-Ti) strands embedded on the face of a rectangular cross-section copper wire


The cyclotron will accelerate light, medium and heavy-mass ion beams with the energies ranging from 10 to 80 million electron volt (MeV) per nucleon. The speed of 80 MeV per nucleon oxygen beam is about 0.39 times the speed of light.


The spin-offs from SCC will be the development of large superconducting coils for Tokamaks (Fusion Reactors), superconducting magnets for medical diagnosis, superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDS), etc.


The Variable Energy Cyclotron (VEC) has recently been equipped with an indigenously developed Electron Cyclotron Resonance (ECR) heavy ion source to produce energetic ion beams of lighter masses for heavy ion physics research. The SCC energy regime begins at the upper energy limit of the VEC. Alongside the superconducting cyclotron, the VECC is also involved in setting up the country’s first medical cyclotron, which will produce radioisotopes such as thallium for use in diagnostics of heart ailments.


Scientific Goals

  1. Nuclear Physics: Intermediate energy heavy-ion beams are used as a powerful tool for the production of hot nuclear matter and study their properties. Moreover, intermediate energy domain (typically around the Fermi energy, i.e., ~37 MeV/nucleon) is considered to be a transition regime, where the gradual weakening of Pauli blocking causes a transition in the reaction mechanisms from the low energy mean field dominated regime to the nucleon-nucleon collision dominated regime which predominates at higher energies (>100 MeV/nucleon). Thus, the study of thermal properties as well as the evolutionary dynamics of hot nuclear matter would be the main thrust area of nuclear physics research programme with the superconducting cyclotron. Besides, the intermediate energy heavy ion beams from the cyclotron would also open up the opportunity for research in another frontline area of nuclear physics, i.e, the study of nuclei away from the b-stability line.
  2. Study of Hot Nuclear Matter: It is now established that hot nuclear matter (temperature ~5-10 MeV) can be produced in central and near-central collisions of two heavy ions at intermediate energies. The hot nuclear matter decays by emitting a large number of (~50) light particles and (~10) intermediate mass fragments (IMF 3<z<20) - which is known as nuclear multifragmentation. Several interesting details about the hot nuclear matter are yet to be understood namely, the thermalisation process on such a small time scale (10-21 – 10-22 sec.), the mechanism of the nuclear disintegration process (e.g., thermal or dynamical origin, unambiguous signals for liquid-gas phase transition), stability limit of the hot nucleus, etc.
  3. Study of binary dissipative collisions: Mid-central collisions in the Fermi energy domain leading to binary dissipative collisions provide opportunity for studying nuclear relaxation processes (energy, N/Z, shape equilibration) in greater details. Observed features such as the emission of a significant fraction of IMFs from the mid-rapidity region and the presence of neutron rich matter in the neck region points to the onset of transition in the reaction mechanism (from statistical to dynamical regime) which warrants further in-depth studies to understand the phenomena.
  4. Study of Collective Nuclear Dynamics: Collective dynamics of hot nuclear systems, i.e., the evolution of nuclear viscosity with excitation energy may be studied from fusion-fission/evaporation as well as from giant resonance experiments. The study of hard and soft photon emission in p-n bremsstrahlung process in intermediate energy heavy ion collisions provides important clue about the dynamics of the system at the beginning and at the later thermalisation stages of the reaction, respectively. Measurement of transverse flow in heavy ion collisions provide information on the equation of state of nuclear matter.
  5. Study of collective nuclear dynamics: Collective dynamics of hot nuclear systems, i.e., the evolution of nuclear viscosity with excitation energy may be studied from fusion-fission/evaporation as well as from giant resonance experiments. The study of hard and soft photon emission in p-n bremsstrahlung process in intermediate energy heavy ion collisions provides important clue about the dynamics of the system at the beginning and at the later thermalisation stages of the reaction, respectively. Measurement of transverse flow in heavy ion collisions provide information on the equation of state of nuclear matter.
  6. Study of nuclei away from b-stability line: The study of exotic nuclei far away from the b-stability line is one of the major areas of current activities in intermediate energy nuclear physics. The medium heavy ion beams from SCC can be utilised to produce many exotic nuclei close to the drip lines using projectile fragmentation reactions. The study of such exotic nuclei is interesting from the point of view of emerging new shell structure, role of spin-orbit interaction in nuclei, nuclear binding, etc. Deep inelastic reaction can also be used to study the structure of heavier exotic nuclei (A >40).
  7. Non-Nuclear physics: The energetic particle beams from the SCC will also be used for basic and applied research in multidisciplinary areas, such as condensed matter, nuclear chemistry, proton therapy, etc. The broad areas covered by such activities are, radiation damage of materials, fast radiochemical separation and study of short lived isotopes, nondestructive testing using particle beams, development of multi-tracer techniques and its applications, treatment of tumours using proton beams, etc.


Machining of the central return path ring of main magnet frame for the superconducting cyclotron project at VECC


Proposed Facilities


In consultation with the national users’ community, it is planned to develop several types of new, sophisticated users’ facilities within the framework of an integrated SCC utilization programme. Following major facilities are planned;


  1. Nuclear Physics
    1. Large, multipurpose scattering chamber
    2. 4∏ charged particle detector array
    3. High energy γ-detector array
    4. Neutron time-of-flight/multiplicity array
    5. Discrete γ-detector array
    6. Construction of a new experimental area
    7. Projectile fragment separator/ISOL facility and ion traps
  2. Non-nuclear Physics
    1. Pneumatic carrier facility and active laboratory
    2. Condensed matter facilities
    3. Proton therapy facility

The SCC utilization programme is planned to be executed in a phased manner within the span of X and XI plan periods.


Indian Contribution to CERN’s accelerator Large Hadron Collider (LHC)


M.G. Karmarkar
Technical Co-ordinator DAE-CERN Collaboration in LHC



The Centre for Advanced Technology (CAT), in March 2001 supplied a pre-series of eight superconducting sextuple magnets (MCS) to CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), as a part of contribution to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) - world’s largest accelerator being built by CERN at Geneva, Switzerland.


A major milestone was achieved when these magnets passed all the specified tests and measurements at room temperature and at 1.8K under superfluid helium at CERN. The MCS magnets are the result of intense development done at CAT in collaboration with CERN.


Under a protocol to the DAE-CERN cooperation agreement, signed in March 1996, DAE, through its unitsis required to develop and supply some of the components of LHC. The components identified includes high-tech superconducting sextuple, decapole and octopole magnets, quench protection heater power supply (QPS), precision magnets positioning system jacks (PMPS), control electronics for high current circuit breakers, large capacity liquid nitrogen tanks, etc.


Apart from these, CAT is developing software for various applications of LHC and providing skilled manpower support for test and measurement of a large number of cryo-magnets of LHC at CERN. Two units of 50,000 liters capacity liquid nitrogen tanks were delivered to CERN, which have performed well at the two main installations at CERN during the last two years. Similarly, prototypes of PMPS jacks and QPS power supply were delivered to CERN last year. Other hardware is under various stages of development at CAT, BARC, ECIL, etc.


At the Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore : Test cryostat assembly for testing of MCS at 4.2K under liquid helium temperature


LHC is a particle accelerator under construction at CERN. The accelerator will mainly accelerate and collide proton beams of 7 trillion electron-volts and also heavier ions up to lead (Pb). Study of these collisions will allow the scientists the world over to investigate basic constituents of matter and also study the conditions, which prevailed at the beginning of the universe just prior to the formation of basic particles.


LHC will be installed in the existing 27km circumference tunnel about 100m underground, straddling the Swiss-French border. The LHC design is based on superconducting magnets that operate in superfluid helium bath at 1.9 K (about 270 degrees centigrade below the freezing ice temperature). Dipoles and quadrupoles are the principal magnets of the LHC. Dipoles will hold the accelerator’s proton or ion beam on a circular path around 27-km ring while quadrupole will keep them tightly focused. The main dipole of LHC will be equipped with sextupolar correctors (MCS) and decapolar (MCD) correctors. Each decapole corrector will have an octupolar insert (MCO), which together are designated as MCDO. In all 2464 MCS and 1232 MCDO assemblies are required for the LHC. For logistic reasons, it was decided to acquire these large number of magnets from two different sources. India is required to supply half of these magnets.


The MCS corrector magnet consists of a superconducting coil assembly, glass fibre slit tube, steel lamination, aluminium shrinking cylinder for pre-compression of coils, end plates for coil connection, parallel resistor for magnet protection and a magnetic shield also acting as a support. Six coil MCS has been designed with two layer coil constructions. The coils are wound from solid rectangular superconducting wire of niobium-titanium (Nb-Ti) in copper matrix on a specially contoured central island (CI) and held rigidly with end-spacers (ES). The island and the spacers are made from special fibreglass epoxy material.


Superconducting sextuble magnets (MCS magnet assembly)


The coils in each corrector are connected in series and the ends connected to the leads for connection to the power supply. These connections are made by ultrasonic weld technique, which results in very low joint resistance – less then 5 nano-ohms per joint at liquid helium temperature.


In operation, the coils are subjected to high electromagnetic forces. To avoid conductor moments an adequate pre-compression is applied to the coils by shrink fitting the aluminium cylinder over the eccentric steel laminations, which are stacked over coils (scissors action). The aluminium cylinder made of special alloy of aluminium is given hard-anodizing treatment to avoid corrosion and biting of laminations into aluminium.


The spool correctors are mounted at the ends of main dipole over beam tubes. In that location, bus bars for the main dipole run very close to these correctors. To prevent their self-field from saturating the yoke of the correctors, the later are encapsulated in an iron-shielding cylinder with mounting flange. The flange has precision drilled holes for alignment with main dipole.


In the LHC, MCS spool correctors will be powered at nominal current of 600A in families of 154 MCS in series. In case of a quench (when the superconductor becomes normal resistive due to movements/imperfections in coils, etc.) of one of these, all the energy of the whole family will be dissipated in that corrector. Each of these is therefore equipped with a bypass resistor for protection. This is made of dia 5-mm stainless steel wire.


A number of prototypes of MCS were made and tested at CAT to finalize its engineering design and special techniques required for production. It was clear from the beginning that to produce a large number of these magnets special machines, toolings and special assembly processes would be required. CAT embarked on the development of coil winding machine, ultrasonic welding machine with tooling for thin superconductor joints, coil assembly and epoxy curing fixtures, etc.


After initial development of twin-arm manual coil winding fixture, more advanced automatic coil winding machines were developed based on two different principles one at CERN and other at CAT. MCS and MCD coils have been successfully wound on these machines. CAT’s machine is a semi-automatic twin oscillating arm machine. The coil mandrel is used to hold precisely the CI on which multi-turn coils are wound. The scheme of CAT coil winding machine has now been used by European industry.


The coil conductors are rigidly held in place by epoxy resin. The resin is applied while winding but the curing is done off-line in a specially made mold in an oven. The precise geometry of coil is achieved at this stage.


In the first generation, prototypes coil terminals were joined by normal soldering technique using standard tin-lead solder with long connections to keep joint resistance as low as possible. A more elegant ultrasonic welding keeps joint resistance as low as possible. A more elegant ultrasonic welding (USW) was developed for a very large number of terminal joining. With this, a joint resistance as low as 5 nano-ohm per connection has been achieved. In addition to these machining, intricate shaped CI and ES from glass-fibre epoxy material was most demanding operations. These were produced on a CNC machining centre with special fixtures.


A number of quality checks, tests and measurements are performed on MCS before these are certified for assembly on the main dipole magnet. These include:

  1. Mechanical measurements of critical components like CI and ES, coils, shrinking cylinder and dowels in steel screen
  2. Electrical checks on assembly
  3. Inspection of tooling, fixtures and process parameters
  4. Magnetic measurements at room temperature for field errors and magnetic centre shiftsand
  5. Low temperature performance at about 950 ampere current (short sample limit of superconductor) under liquid helium bath at 4.2K and at 1.8K, etc.

For these tests and measurements, special gauges and instruments have been developed at CAT. These include magnetic measurement setup at room temperature, liquid helium cryostats with powering and quench data acquisition system, contact resistance measurement system, etc. Testing at 1.8K superfluid helium is done at special facilities made for this purpose at CERN.


With the successful development and supply of pre-series MCS, India has become an equal partner in the development of "the edge of high-tech" items with only other four non-European countries namely Canada, Japan, Russia and USA participating in the global science project at CERN.


Environmental Impact Assessment for PFBR


As per the Environmental Protection Act, 1986 construction and operation of any major industry including power plants requires statutory clearances from the Ministry of Environment and Forest and from the State Pollution Control Board. A detailed report of the Environmental Impact Assessment/Environmental Management Plan (EIA/EMP) is one of the prerequisites for obtaining the necessary clearances. The EIA/EMP has the following components:

  1. Justification of the project activity
  2. Identifying the environmental parameters that are likely to be affected, both during construction and operation of the plant (environmental impact matrix)
  3. Assessing the present environmental status with respect to air, water, land, noise, traffic level, flora and fauna and socio economic conditions. (This has to be done for one full year covering all the seasons of the year)
  4. Prediction of the impact on the environment due to the construction and operation of the plant
  5. Quantitative evaluation of the impacts using standard and well accepted methods
  6. Recommendation of environmental management plans to mitigate the impacts
  7. Disaster management plans
  8. Identification of environmental monitoring programme

An EIA/EMP study was recently conducted for the proposed 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam. M/s MECON Limited, Ranchi was identified as the consultant and entrusted with the task.


The study carried out during the period August 1999 – July 2000 included the collection of data through field measurements and from various central and state government departments.


A rapid EIA report highlighting the environmental parameters studied, criteria for the choice of the sampling locations, sampling protocol and results of the analysis of the data collected during the first three months of the survey was prepared. A comprehensive report with the results and analysis of data collected for one full year is also being prepared for submission to statutory agencies.


The study conducted for the PFBR has indicated marginal negative impacts in the areas of ecology, environmental pollution, aesthetics and human interest. Suitable ameliorative measures are suggested as environmental management plans in the report. The study has concluded that the net impact due to the plant will be positive with implementation of the suggested management plans.


The EIA/EMP report along with the other necessary documents has been submitted to the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board for obtaining the clearance from the State Government. Under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986 and the subsequent notifications issued in 1994, it is mandatory to have a public hearing to seek the public opinion/view/objection on the proposed plant. The views expressed in the hearing are carefully considered by the State Government before issuing the clearance. A public hearing for the proposed PFBR is scheduled to be conducted during July, 2001. This is the first time in India a nuclear power plant is going for public hearing.


-Dr. S. Venkadesan, IGCAR


Atomic Energy Act 1962 and Safety-Related Rules


K. S. Parthasarathy
Secretary, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board



During 1947, there were rumors to the effect that the Travancore Darbar had entered into an agreement with the British Government for the disposal of monazite and thorium nitrate. (The beach sands in that part of India contain the world’s richest deposit of thorium). The news disturbed Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He was then the President of the Indian Science Congress. Many scientists were equally concerned about the development. They passed a special resolution asserting that the State should own and control all minerals especially atomic minerals and foreign exploitation of these resources should be prohibited.


Nehru consulted Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha. Dr Bhabha agreed that our mineral resources for atomic energy should be preserved. Their disposal should be done only on behalf of the Government of India and after considering all the concerned issues. The Atomic Energy Bill 1948 which Pandit Nehru moved in the Constituent Assembly of India (Legislative) on April 6, 1948 ensured the state control of atomic minerals. The Parliament repealed the Atomic Energy Act 1948 when it passed the Atomic Energy Act 1962. The new Act is expected "to provide for the development, control and use of atomic energy for the welfare of the people of India and for other peaceful uses and for matters connected therewith".


India has mastered all the stages of the nuclear fuel cycle. These include mining and processing of uranium and thorium, fabrication of nuclear fuel, design, construction, commissioning and operation of nuclear power reactors and research reactors, reprocessing of spent fuel and management of radioactive wastes. Ionizing radiation is used widely in medical, industrial and research areas. The agencies in- house enforced radiological safety in the country and industrial safety in the Units of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) from the very inception of the programme, by appropriate administrative and technical steps, till a dedicated regulatory body was set up.


Atomic Energy Act 1962 and Rules


The Atomic Energy Act 1962, which provides the basic regulatory framework to the atomic energy programme and the use of ionizing radiation in India has 32 Sections. Four of them relate to safety. They deal with the powers of the Central Government to exercise control over radioactive substances and radiation generating plants, special provisions to safety and the administration of the provisions of the Factories Act 1948, in the Units of DAE.


The Act details penalties for violations of its the provisions.


Under the Atomic Energy Act 1962, the Central Government promulgated the following rules:

  1. Radiation Protection Rules 1971, G.S.R 1691. The Gazette of India, Part II Section 3(i), October 30, 1971.
  2. Atomic Energy (Working of Mines, Minerals and Handling of Prescribed Substances) Rules 1984, GSR 781. The Gazette of India, Part II, Section 3(i), July 21, 1984.
  3. Atomic Energy (Safe Disposal of Radioactive Wastes) Rules 1987, GSR 125, The Gazette of India, Part II, Section 3(i), February 28, 1987.
  4. Atomic Energy (Factories) Rules 1996. G. S. R 253. The Gazette of India Part II Sec 3(i) June 22,1996
  5. Atomic Energy (Control of Irradiation of Food) Rules 1996. G. S. R 254. The Gazette of India Part II Sec 3(i) June 22,1996

These cover radiological safety, management of radioactive wastes, administration of Factories Act and prescription of qualifications of persons employed in installations dealing with radioactive substances or use of any radiation generating plant, equipment or appliance.


The rules specify the requirements of licensing or authorisations, power to modify or withdraw the licenses, the duties and responsibilities of Radiological Safety Officers, their qualifications, radiation surveillance procedures, powers of inspection of radiation installation, sealing and seizure of radioactive material among others. Each of these rules also confers on the Central Government powers to designate a Competent Authority to enforce the rules.


Constitution of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board


In November 1983, Central Government had set up the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and delegated to it the power to exercise the regulatory and safety functions envisaged under the Atomic Energy Act 1962.


The Board has five members and a secretary. The members are eminent persons with expertise in health and safety related disciplines. The Chairman of the Board is the Competent Authority to enforce safety related rules. The Board has evolved safety policies on the basis of multi-tier reviews and discussions in Working Groups, Review Committees and Advisory Committees. These have members from academic and research institutions, industries and government agencies such as the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Central Electricity Authority and Central Boilers Board.


Powers of the Regulatory Boar


The AERB has the power to lay down safety standards and frame rules and regulations to carry out its mandate. The important functions of the Board are as follows:

  1. Enforcement of rules and regulations promulgated under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 for radiation safety in the country and under the Factories Act, 1948 for industrial safety in the units under the control of DAE
  2. Development of Safety Codes, Guides and Standards for siting, design, construction, commissioning, operation and decommissioning of different types of plantsand development of safety policies in both radiation and industrial safety areas
  3. Ensuring compliance by the installations of DAE and those outside DAE with the safety codes and standards during construction/commissioning stages
  4. Safety review and issuance of authorization to commission and operate safely DAE plants and radiation installations in India
  5. Review of the operational experience of nuclear facilities and radiation installations in the light of the radiological and other safety criteria recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), such other international bodies and thereby evolve major safety policies
  6. Prescription of acceptable limits of radiation exposure to occupational workers and members of the public and approve acceptable limits of environmental releases of radioactive substances
  7. Promotion of research and development efforts for fulfilling the above functions and responsibilities
  8. Review of the training programme, qualifications and licensing policies for personnel by the projects/plants
  9. Prescription of the syllabi for training of personnel in safety aspects at all levels
  10. Maintenance of liaison with statutory bodies in the country as well as abroad regarding safety matters
  11. Taking steps to provide the public with information on major issues of safety significance

AERB has issued so far nearly 90 regulatory documents (codes, guides, manuals and standards). Compliance with the codes and standards by the nuclear facilities and radiation installations is mandatory.


In 1987, the Government widened the functions and responsibilities of the Board. This was based on the recommendations of a senior level review committee. Till then, DAE had set up the Safety Review Committee (SRC), which enforced safety stipulations in the Units of DAE. Since 1987, AERB has been appointing this Committee, which was renamed as Safety Review Committee for Operating Plants (SARCOP). Thus DAE/SRC became AERB/SARCOP. The Division, which was enforcing the decisions of DAE-SRC, became a part of AERB. This was an important step in the evolution of the regulatory process in India.


Implementation of Regulatory Measures


AERB follows a three-tier review process to authorize siting, design, construction, commissioning and operation of nuclear facilities. This consists of reviews by a Project Design Safety Committee (PDSC), an Advisory Committee for Project Safety Review and finally by the Board. An experienced engineer drawn from outside the rolls of Nuclear Power Corporation chairs the Advisory Committee. The members of the Committee are experts drawn from governmental organizations and research institutions. The Board may at every stage impose conditions on the licensee based on its own assessment or on that of its advisory or design safety committees.


The responsibility to assess safety during the operating phase of any unit is vested with the Safety Review Committee for Operating Plants (SARCOP) appointed by AERB. The members of the Committee are nominated on the basis of their knowledge and experience on the safety aspects of various nuclear installations and facilities operated by DAE. The Committee has vast responsibilities and powers. A multi-tier review process consisting of a Unit Safety Committee, SARCOP and finally the Board carries out safety review of operating Units of DAE. SARCOP licenses operating staff and other personnel in nuclear power plants and other facilities. AERB/SARCOP may impose regulatory restrictions such as restricting power levels of reactors, delicensing of operators and shutting down the nuclear power plants and facilities if found necessary.


AERB enforces Radiation Protection Rules 1971 in all radiation installations in the country. AERB has also issued relevant codes. With the support of AERB, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) issued the radiation safety standards for diagnostic X-ray equipment and dental X-ray units. AERB issues type approvals for radiation equipment, approvals of Radiological Safety Officers and 'No Objection Certificates' to import radioactive substances after safety assessment. A committee called the Safety Review Committee for Applications of Radiation assists the Board in these activities.


AERB has approved Radiological Safety Officers at three levels depending on the type of installations and their hazard potential. The status of radiological safety in each institution is monitored on the basis of periodic reports, radiation dose records of workers, regulatory inspections (some of them unannounced!) and other inputs. AERB ensures that the doses to radiation workers and the releases to the environment from various facilities are within the limits prescribed by AERB.


AERB implemented the recommendations of the International Commission of Radiological Protection (ICRP) on dose limits to workers in a phased manner. Exercising the powers vested under the Radiation Protection Rules, 1971, Chairman, AERB prescribed the dose limits to radiation workers. All nuclear facilities and radiation installations comply with these stipulations.


Looking Forward


AERB has established appropriate administrative, technical and scientific framework to issue authorisations and to enforce nuclear and industrial safety in all units of DAE and radiation safety in all radiation installations in the country. The regulatory procedures and mechanisms developed in early years in India laid the foundation for AERB. Specialist committees have reviewed the activities of the Board. These reviews helped to widen the scope of its activities and to enhance its effectiveness as an agency suited to national requirements. The Board shall strengthen itself to face the regulatory challenges associated with the ageing of plants, safety upgradations and induction of newer nuclear technologies while sustaining its present activities at an optimum level.


No Radiation Hazards at UCIL


S. K. Malhotra
Head, Publicity Division, DAE


Recently, in certain sections of the Press a few articles have appeared about radiation threats to the people living around uranium mining operations of Uranium Corporation of India Ltd., Jaduguda, Dist. Singhbhum (East), Jharkhand. As the articles are not based on scientific facts, it is therefore be appropriate to put forward the facts to remove misgivings, if any caused by such misinformation.


The ores mined at the three mines—Jaduguda, Bhatin and Narwapahar are of very low grade (uranium content 0.06%) as compared to those available in other countries. After recovery of uranium in the mill, the bulk of the material processed emerges as tailings. Its radioactivity content is very low. The tailings slurry along with liquid effluents is neutralized with limestone to remove the soluble daughter nuclides and heavy metals. The coarse fraction is used to backfill the mines. The slurry containing fine particles is pumped to a tailing pond where the solids settle and the water effluent from the pond is received back at the Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) and is treated to ensure that it conforms to the limits prescribed by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and the Pollution Control Board.


The background radiation exposure rate in Jaduguda area (1.1 milligray per year) is much less as compared to the average radiation dose in the high background radiation area of Kerala where the natural background radiation exposure rate varies from 1.15 to 35 milligray.


A collaborative scientific study on new born children in low and high background radiation areas of Kerala was conducted by BARC and the Directorate of Health Services of the Kerala Government. Under the study, over 60,000 new born babies have been scanned so far in the areas having significant population density. This study has shown no significant difference in any of the reproductive factors such as congenital malformation, still birth or twinning, between the two groups of new borns. The frequency of malformation was also found to be comparable with the frequencies of malformations in the areas of Baroda, Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi.


A Health Physics Unit/Environmental Survey Laboratory of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, (BARC), Mumbai set up at Jaduguda in 1965, continuously monitors the environment (air, process water, ground water, surface water, flora and fauna) in and around the UCIL facilities and submits its reports to AERB (The description of the operation of mines & mill and environment friendly efforts of UCIL have appeared in Nuclear India Vol 33/No 3-4/Sept-Oct., 1999 on pages 12-14 under the title "Expansion of Uranium Corporation of India Limited").


In addition, periodic inspection of all the facilities is carried out by the inspection teams of the Board to ensure compliance with technical specifications and other statutory requirements.


As per the BARC survey report, the radiation levels within 5 kms radius from Jaduguda are quite normal. In addition the radon levels up to about 1 km from tailings ponds and uranium concentration in ground water around tailings pond and surface water in the downstream waters of Suvarnarekha river and Gara Nullah are all within the limits prescribed by AERB/Pollution Control Board.


On the suggestion of the Environment Committee of the Legislative Council of Bihar, a health survey of all the residents within 2 km of UCIL was jointly undertaken by a medical team comprising doctors from Bihar Government and UCIL. Seventeen settlements from 8 villages were covered in this survey. Around 3400 persons were examined and 31 persons were short-listed for further investigations. Detailed clinical examination of the short listed persons was also carried out. Subsequently, these cases were reviewed by a team of experts comprising medical and radiation safety personnel from BARC, UCIL, nuclear medicine specialists from Tata Main Hospital (Jamshedpur) and doctors from Bihar Government including the Civil Surgeon of Singhbhum (East) District. After a detailed review the team was convinced and unanimously agreed that the disease pattern cannot be ascribed to radiation exposure in any of these cases. The report clearly stated thus "The consensus of all the doctors was that the cases examined had congenital limb anomalies, diseases due to genetic abnormalities like thalassaemia major and retinitis, pigme-ntosa, moderate to gross spenomegaly due to chronic malarial infection (as this is a hyperendemic area) malnutrition, post encephalitic and post-head injury sequele". The medical survey by specialists did not identify any patient suffering from radiation related diseases.


Researchers from BARC and the Directorate of Health Services, Govt of Kerala have conducted a detailed scientific study on newborn children in low and high background radiation areas of Kerala where significant population density exists for generations. Thus, presenting a good opportunity for a scientific study of effects of low level radiation if any. The natural background radiation exposure rate in the areas covered in this study varied from 1.15 to 35 milligray per year. 34,337 newborn children from high background radiation area (HBRA) and 13306 children from normal background radiation area (NBRA) were screened. The findings of the study are that there is no significant difference in any of the reproductive factors such as congenital malformation, still birth or twinning between two groups of new borns. The study is still continuing and to date about 60,000 new borns have been screened. The frequency of malformation (1.53%) in the total live births examined from this area are found to be comparable with similar studies done on nearly 72,000 new borns in Chennai (1.6%), 95,000 new borns from New Delhi (1.46%), Baroda (2.05%) and Mumbai (2.3%). The results of this study have been published in the journal ‘Radiation Research Vol. 152’. It is important to note that background radiation exposure rate in the Jaduguda area (1.1 milligray per year) is quite less as compared to the average radiation dose in the high background radiation area of Kerala. The congenital malformations are known to occur world over in the unexposed population too and the frequency of their occurrence depends on several factors such as maternal age, consanguinity, ethnicity, nutritional status.


UCIL operations at Jaduguda and nearby areas have had a definitely positive socio-economic impact on the lives of the people of the region. These can be summarized as employment generation, housing, potable water, better means of communication and transportation, local market development, better education facilities, etc. UCIL provides employment to about 4500 people, majority of them being tribals from Jaduguda and surrounding areas. This has totally transformed the living standard of the families of these people.


DAE has always laid strong emphasis on health, safety and environment and every effort is being made to search for further improvements wherever possible. All operations are carried out in such a way that exposure and releases are well below the regulatory limits and are as low as reasonably achievable.


Chief Election Commissioner Praises Performance of ECIL’s Electronic Voting Machine



Electronic Voting Machine developed by the Electronics Corporation of India Ltd. (ECIL)


India Hosts International Chemistry Olympiad


India is hosting the 33rd International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) in Mumbai from July 6 to July 15, 2001. About 215 students accompanied by their mentors from about 60 countries are converging to Mumbai to participate in this prestigious world competition in chemistry for exceptionally talented senior secondary students from across the world. Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), a National Centre of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai is organizing the event supported by the Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences (BRNS) of Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Science & Technology and Ministry of Human Resources Development. HBCSE Director, Prof. Arvind Kumar is the Chairman of the National Organizing Committee of the IChO


In 1996, an International Mathematics Olympiad was organized by National Board for Higher Mathematics but it is for the first time that a science olympiad is being held in India. The last chemistry olympiad was held at Copenhagen.


The Indian Science Olympiad programme (in physics, chemistry and biology) launched a decade after the Indian mathematics programme is generating tremendous excitement in the country and the Indian olympiad teams are doing well right in their maiden years of participation. Last year, the Indian physics team excelled at the olympiad and in terms of aggregate score was ranked third—next only to China and Russia. In chemistry, the Indian teams returned with two silver and two bronze medals both in its first and second year of participation. In biology too, the maiden performance in 2000 was creditable—each member of the Indian team got a medal, three bronze and one silver.


The science olympiads, test both problem-solving and experimental skillsand are far more difficult to organize. In recent years, HBCSE, in collaboration with the Indian Association of Physics Teachers and their counterparts in chemistry and biology has successfully carried out a three stage selection process followed by training that culminates in the selection of the final teams that represent the country in the international Olympiads every year.


A National Scientific Committee has worked in collaboration with a special Olympiad Cell of HBCSE to design the novel theoretical and experimental problems of this unique contest. The laboratory contest will be held in the Department of Chemistry, IIT-Bombay, Mumbai. A set of precontest problems has been already designed and sent to all the participating countries. India’s ability to host this world event in chemistry so early after its entry into the science olympiads is being viewed with tremendous appreciation in the international chemistry olympiad community. The world chemistry olympiad is going to be a mega event of the year for science students and teachers.


The Minister of Human Resource Development and Science & Technology, Dr, Murli Manohar Joshi is the patron of the 33rd IChO. Prof. C. N. R Rao, Linus Paulling Research Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore is the Honorary President of the 33rd IChO.


International Physics Olympiad: Indian Team bags 3 gold and 2 silver medals


The Indian team that participated in the 32nd International Physics Olympiad in Turkey fared exceptionally well, bagging three gold and two silver medals.


The team comprising Nandan Dixit, Parag Agarwal, Arvind Thiagarajan (one gold medal each), Naresh Satyan and Vijay Kumar S (one silver medal each) were competing against 308 students from all over the world.


The olympiad was held during June 28 to July 6.


Heavy Water Board Received Golden Peacock Environment Award


Heavy Water Board (HWB) has received the "Golden Peacock Environment Management Award 2001". The award has been instituted by the "World Environment Foundation (WEF)"


Fire Service Week at BARC


The Fire Service Week was observed at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre during April 14-20,2001. In its continued efforts to increase awareness on fire safety, the Fire Services Section, BARC organised with the participation of Mumbai Fire Brigade a Demonstration-cum-Exhibition at Anushaktinagar.


The firemen demonstrated their skills in rescue and fire fighting with advance fire fighting units including the Jumbo Tanker, Simon Snorked Jumbo and Mini Rescue Ladder.


Since 1952, every year April 14 has been observed as National Fire Service Day, as a tribute to the brave firemen who lost their lives while fighting the leaping flames which had engulfed a ship docked at Mumbai Port Trust on April 14, 1944. The fire was caused by an explosion.


13th All India Essay Contest in Nuclear Science and Technology


DAE invites essays as per following details not exceeding 2500 words written in any official Indian language or English from regular full time students studying for graduation (after 10+2), in any discipline, ( e.g. BA., B.Sc., B. Tech., B.E., etc.) in an Indian University or an institution deemed to be a University. Those who have won prizes (including consolation prize) in our earlier essay contests are not eligible.




The common major title of the essay will be "Atomic Energy & Societal Development In India". In an introduction of about 500-700 words, a brief description should be given on how the Atomic Energy Programme in India has contributed to wealth generation and towards providing better quality of life to the citizens through electricity generation by nuclear means, development of radiation technologies and their application to various sectors, development of Advanced Technology and by carrying out Basic Research in its own laboratories and facilitating it in other institutes. This general introduction should be followed by detailed description in about 2000 words on ANY ONE of the following specific subtopics.


  1. Indian Nuclear Power Programme: Demand (present and future) of electricity in India, various energy options and inevitability of nuclear power in terms of fuel resource position, environmental issues, cost comparisons, etc. India’s 3-stage Nuclear Power Porgramme its capabilities in nuclear fuel production, Heavy Water production and Nuclear Waste Management.
  2. Radiation & Radiation Technologies: Radiation & Radiation Technologies and their applications in Health care, Industry, Agriculture and Food Preservation.
  3. Technology Development: Technology Development at DAE with specific reference to Advanced Technologies like Lasers, Accelerators, Computers, Plasma, Robotics & Remote Handling, Bio-technology, etc.
  4. Basic Research & Research-Education linkage: Basic Research in the field of physical, chemical and life sciences carried out at DAE laboratories and support provided by DAE to other R&D units, Academic institutes, etc. Importance of Research-Education linkage with special reference to DAE.

How To Send the Essay


The essay should be sent to the address given below directly by the contestant along with bonafide studentship certificate from the Principal of his/her College/Institution. The participant shall write his/her name, institution and address on a separate detachable sheet only. Name or address should not be written elsewhere on the text of the essay.


Mode Of Selection


After initial screening and evaluation, a maximum of thirty essays will be selected and their authors will be invited to Mumbai in the last week of October 2001 for an oral presentation of the essays. Final selection will be made on the basis of combined performance in oral presentation and quality of the essay. Those called for oral presentation in Mumbai shall be eligible for:

  1. To and fro 3-tier AC rail fare by the shortest route. Claim for reimbursement of rail fare for journey performed by Rajdhani/August Krant/Shatabdi Express will be restricted to 3-tier AC by ordinary Express/Mail train.
  2. Boarding and lodging in the Guest House of DAE at Anushaktinagar, Mumbai during the authorized period of stay.


First Prize (2 nos.): Rs 5000
Second Prize (2 nos.): Rs 3000
Third Prize (2 nos.): Rs 2000
*Consolation Prizes: Rs 1000


*To all those who make oral presentation but do not secure first, second or third prize


The prizes will be distributed on the Founder’s Day of BARC (October 30, 2001) which is the birth anniversary of late Dr. Homi J. Bhabha.


Head, Publicity Division,
Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India,
Anushakti Bhavan, CSM Marg, Mumbai - 400 001.


The Last Date for Receipt of Essay is August 28, 2001


Reaching Out....


Taste of India Exhibition, Pune


The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) along with its units namely the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and the Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology (BRIT) participated in the "Taste of India" – an exhibition of spices, spice products and allied industries – held at Pune during June 8-10, 2001.


The DAE pavilion displayed samples of radiation processed food items and information was provided to the visitors about the radiation-processed food, through panels, audio-visual display and published literature.


Free samples of radiation-processed spices processed at the Spice Plant, Vashi, Navi Mumbai were distributed to the volunteers from the public. Over one thousand samples were handed out accompanied by feedback forms.


The visitors were in general keen to know about the benefits of radiation processing of food. Many entrepreneurs involved in spice business expressed their desire to get their spices processed by BRIT. Several queries came from farmers about the shelf life extension of mangoes, onions and potatoes. They looked forward to the commissioning of the POTON plant being set up by BARC at Lasalgaon near Nasik, Maharashtra.