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Varsities to now teach N-lessons

India’s 34-year nuclear isolation has ended. The signing of business agreements with France and US, to begin with, brings with it employment opportunities and higher salaries for nuclear technology experts, reports Prasad Nichenametla.

delhi Updated: Oct 14, 2008 01:40 IST
Prasad Nichenametla

India’s 34-year nuclear isolation has ended. The signing of business agreements with France and United States, to begin with, brings with it employment opportunities and higher salaries for nuclear technology experts.

According to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, there are 17 nuclear power plants running commercial activities in the country, and five more are under construction.

And educational institutions in the country are gearing up to address the needs of the manpower-deprived energy sector.

Delhi University has already launched a three-year M.Tech course in Nuclear Technology this academic year. The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, too, is planning to introduce a two-year course on similar lines.

“As the country expands its nuclear programme and sets up new nuclear power plants, the need for skilled manpower will increase. Even at the international level there is an acute shortage of manpower in the sector,” Professor D S Kulshreshta, head of department of Physics and Astrophysics, Delhi University, told HT.

“As there is a dearth of young and talented people in the sector we would welcome the initiatives of these institutes,” Madhukar Kotwal, senior executive Vice President, L&T, which plans to build nuclear reactors and steam generators when the sector opens up to private players.

The Indian institutes of technology at Kanpur and Mumbai have been running such a course for a long time. But the response till now had been tepid. “The nuclear sector was confined to government set-ups such as the Department of Atomic Energy, where salaries were measly. But with the sector opening up to private participation, we expect the demand to rise,” said Professor Sanjay Dhande, director, IIT Kanpur.