Published: 30th October 2020
DAE to build incubation centres in Mumbai, Chennai, Indore to work with start-ups: AEC chairman
The establishment of the incubation centres is in line with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's May 2020 reform proposals for the atomic energy sector in the country
The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) will be establishing incubation centres at its units in the financial capital, Indore and Kalpakkam near Chennai, to help entrepreneurs develop nuclear products for the society based on nuclear technologies, a top official said on Friday. The establishment of the incubation centres is in line with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's May 2020 reform proposals for the atomic energy sector, where the government had stressed on the need for public private partnerships in the nuclear sector.
It can be noted that nuclear science has so far been dominated by the government and the reforms proposals were a part of wide-ranging announcements done during the pandemic. Speaking at the annual founder's day programme to commemorate Indian nuclear programme founder Homi Bhabha's birth anniversary, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) chairman K N Vyas announced the establishment of the incubation centres by the DAE.
"In the beginning, BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai), IGCAR (Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam), RRCAT (Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore) will have the incubation centres," Vyas said. He said work on having similar facilities at Kolkata's Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre and one more facility run by the DAE is also on. The incubation centres will take DAE's already established 'Synapse Technologies' to the wider society through relevant products, Vyas said, explaining that established technologies will be handed over to the entrepreneurs.
He said as per the needs of the society, entities can also tie up with relevant partners for developing newer technologies. Meanwhile, Vyas said some activities of the DAE have been impacted because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns, but added that the department has collectively risen to the challenge. In a major achievement, a 700-MW pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR) unit in Kakrapar achieved its first criticality in July and work on commissioning three more such units is in advanced stages, he said.
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) is planning to standardise the design of the reactors and build ten more such units on the 'fleet mode', he said. In FY20, a record 46,572 million electricity units were generated by the NPCIL, he said, adding all the units were operational during the lockdown, the fleet capacity factor was over 78 per cent and April-September 2020 witnessed an 82 per cent availability factor.
Vyas said India has been trying to take its nuclear power capabilities to international level and work on the same has started with an agreement to train engineers from Bangladesh on various facets including maintenance. In FY20, IREL (Indian Rare Earths Ltd) achieved a 35 per cent growth in revenue at Rs 1,038 crore as compared to the same period last fiscal. DAE's unit Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) has developed an internet of things based solution for remote patient management which will be of help during the pandemic times, he said.
Vyas said the DAE is working as per a 15-year vision document and has made necessary progress to achieve the reform goals set out by Sitharaman. Speaking at the same event, BARC's director Ajit Kumar Mohanty enlisted a slew of progress made by scientists at the premier research facility across energy, healthcare, food security and other aspects.