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Indian Science Congress receives enthusiastic response from people

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Indian Science Congress

By Nithin Sridhar

Mysore: The 103rd edition of the Indian Science Congress (ISC) that is currently being hosted in the city has received enthusiastic response from hundreds of delegates who have come from across India.

The event, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 3, will continue till January 7. The ISC is holding simultaneous talks on diverse areas of scientific research ranging from Nano-Technology to Diabetes, and from Bio-technology to Sanitation.

1Additionally, various sectional departments like Agriculture, Veterinary science, Anthropology, Earth system science, Engineering, Mathematics, Information and communication, etc. are all hosting lectures and paper presentations.

NewsGram visited the venue on Monday i.e. January 4 and found great enthusiasm among the participants that ranged from school and college students to teachers, lectures, and general public.

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Morning saw simultaneous sessions on topics like Sustainability and Future Generation Wireless Networks, Session of Diabetes, Evolution: The Frontiers, etc. Afternoon was filled with sessions of sectional departments and Young Scientist award presentations. In the evening, the Nobel Laureate talk was delivered by Professor John B. Gurdon, followed by Field Medalist talk delivered by Professor Manjula Bhargava.

3Additionally, the ISC also hosted Children Science Congress on Monday. School students from different states exhibited their models, experiments, and research results. The topics ranged from a study on advantages of Bamboo structures presented by a student from Arunachal Pradesh to a modified model of JCB loader that requires no fossil fuels to run. One student had designed an innovative platform based on hovercraft mechanism, which could be used in flood situations to rescue people and airlift them. Another student from Punjab demonstrates using field tests how organic fertilizers are better than chemical ones.

4The Children’s exhibition clearly demonstrated that India does not lack talent in scientific fields. The young children only lack proper guidance and attractive opportunities to work further in their fields of interest.

5This lack of harnessing of scientific talents is directly reflected in the academic outputs that India is producing each year. India filed only 17 patents per 1 million population in 2013 as against 910 in US and 541 in China. Similarly, India’s scholarly impact is 30% below the world’s average.

It is high time that Indian government, as well as private companies and stakeholders, invest money and time in improving R&D situation in India.

 

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Indian nuclear industry growing fast, says former Atomic Energy Commission chief

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Mysuru: Indian nuclear industry had come of age and was capable of growing fast, said former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Srikumar Banerjee.

“The stumbling block is economics, as installing a nuclear plant has to be affordable to sell its power at a competitive rate,” Banerjee said at the 103rd Indian Science Congress.

In spite of hype over the India-US nuclear deal and opening up of the civilian nuclear industry to foreign suppliers, barring two recent agreements on setting up two more units at the Russian-backed Kudankulam plant in Tamil Nadu and the French-backed Jatipur project in Maharashtra, not much headway has been made over the years.

As setting up nuclear power plants involves not only technology transfer and making components in the country, but also operating them by the state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL), a consensus has been eluding stakeholders owing to high cost and liability clause.

“If suppliers agree to shift production to India through joint ventures with private firms, its cost can be reduced to make and sell nuclear power viable,” Banerjee said on the margins of a plenary session on ‘Atomic Energy’ on the third day of the five-day annual science fair in the Mansagangothri campus of University of Mysore.

Asserting that nuclear plants could be set up by resolving contentious issues, the nuclear scientist said it was important to assess the commercial viability of nuclear reactors to be set up with the help of international suppliers of technology and products.

“If nuclear suppliers could shift equipment making activity to our country in a big way, then production cost will reduce substantially,” he said.

He further said production had to be on convoy mode to meet the growing demand for cleaner, safer and cost-effective energy.

“The government has set a target of 60 giga watt (60,000 mega watt) from nuclear plants by 2032 as against the present 5,780 mega watt by various types of reactors though it (target) will meet about 10 percent of the energy need, which will be about 600 giga watt as against the present 250 giga watt,” Banerjee said.

Clarifying that sourcing fuel (uranium) was not an issue as it could be imported and supplemented with domestic production, the expert said enrichment plants have to set up at light water reactors to process the spent fuel for recycling it.

“Thorium utilisation depends on how much of it can be converted into Uranium 233 as it is not a fuel. We need to expand the installed capacity to sustain a system,” Banerjee added.

2 responses to “Indian nuclear industry growing fast, says former Atomic Energy Commission chief”

  1. There are many shortcomings of nuclear power, though none of them are what are commonly perceived: Though nuclear critics constantly wail from an outdated playbook about radiation, nuclear waste, and accidents, the far more realistic problems are financing, regulatory processes, industry-wide deterioration of skills, and transparency. These deficiencies of nuclear power will become a millstone around India’s neck if not addressed soon and adequately. So going green is the best option for india!

  2. India’s nuclear developments without addressing basic issues is beyond understanding. In 2008, criminal gang was caught attempting to smuggle low-grade uranium, capable of being used in a primitive radiation-dispersal device, from one of India’s state-owned mines across the border to Nepal. The same year another group was caught moving an illicit stock of uranium over the border to Bangladesh, the gang having been assisted by the son of an employee at India’s Atomic Minerals Division, which supervises uranium mining and processing. Why India is so eager to bring another Fukushima like disaster?

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