BARC FOUNDER'S DAY LECTURE 2005 

FROM THREE DECADES OF NUCLEAR ISOLATION TO GLOBAL 
LEADERSHIP IN NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY IN THREE DECADES

Placid Rodriguez, Raja Ramanna Fellow, Indian Institute of Technology Madras

ABSTRACT

The author who has had a career-long, four decades of association with the Department of Atomic Energy starts the lecture by recalling the heady exciting days of the early years. The growth of the Indian nuclear porgamme from the early Nehru-Bhabha days to the present, has been truly spectacular. Indian Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor Technology can be said to have reached "technical maturity" in recent years. After some early hiccups, not unusual for a new technology, the Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) programme, seems to have taken firm roots. We are now a "de facto nuclear weapon state". This has contributed immensely to boost the national pride, morale, prestige and national security.


Whatever may be the open reactions and criticisms from the nations around the globe, the respect and admiration (often not expressed openly) for India have only grown. The recent positive engagement between India and the U.S. and the responses from the members of the Nuclear Supplier Group is a manifestation of this appreciation of India's nuclear capabilities and its role in the imminent renaissance in nuclear power technology in the whole world.

"The return of the nuclear power" globally can see India in a leadership position by 2050, and possibly earlier by 2030. Our potential for leadership in PHWR FBR and Thorium Utilization Technologies is highlighted. It is emphasized that the potential is independent of any import of LWRs by the country. The potential includes India's role as a supplier of Technology as well as Human Rsources to the rest of the world. The lecture recommends the paradigm shifts essential to realize the potential.

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