DURING the 102nd Indian Science Congress at Mumbai, the session on ‘holistic approach to atomic energy: present and future’ held on January 5 gave a bird’s eye-view of recent developments. Dr Anil Kakodkar, former chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, chaired the session.
Dr Bernard Bigot, chairperson, French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission noted the report of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change for the year 2014 that “human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history.”
He revealed that European energy supply now relies on 80 per cent fossil fuel. De-carbonisation is high on European agenda.
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DOWNLOAD DICTATION TRANSCRIPTION PDF FILE – Nuclear Power Roadmap for India – dictation transcription
Dr Bigot stated that France chose sodium cooled fast neutron reactors as its 4th Generation reactors. The technology is ideal for efficient and safe plutonium multi-recycling, for fully tapping the energy content of natural uranium resources and for optimization of high-level radioactive waste management. He assured the audience that the technology can be ready by 2040, before the renewing of the present nuclear fleet.
Dr Bigot expects the life of the existing Generation II nuclear power plants to be extended till 2040, Generation III deployment till 2070 and Generation IV from 2030 to well over 2080. The Energy transition bill envisages deployment of solar, biomass and wind progressively from 2030-2080; Fusion systems may get deployed by 2080 onwards. He envisaged a role for large energy storage, Generation IV reactors, and nuclear fusion systems during 2040-2050.
In his presentation, Dr S P Sukhatme. Professor Emeritus, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, pointed out that a general increase in the mean annual consumption of electricity is a necessary condition for a better quality of life in India. He argued that having high enough value by itself is not sufficient.
The distribution needs to be equitable. Since no direct data are available, he attempted to deduce the present power distribution in India from data available for the world as a whole.
Sekhar Basu, Director, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, gave a kaleidoscopic view of the applications of radioisotopes in healthcare , agriculture and industry . Forty one Bhabhatron II units, the indigenous tele-therapy units are in service now. BARC and the Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology supply radiopharmaceuticals to 150 centres.