Finishing projects on the verge of completion and scaling up uranium mining will be the main priorities of chairman designate of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), Dr Sekhar Basu.
“My first priority will be to finish projects on for some time. I would like to bring the second unit of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, prototype fast-breeder reactor and the reprocessing plant at Kalpakkam online as early as possible. My second priority is uranium mining. Uranium production has to be increased,” Basu told HT in an interview.
On Friday, the government cleared the name of the veteran atomic scientist for the post of AEC chief and secretary of the Department of Energy. He will take over from Dr R K Sinha, who retires this month. Basu is currently the director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai.
When questioned about how he would put to rest concerns of the civil movement on nuclear issues, Basu said, “I will attempt to make it broad-based, focusing on the needs of local people and address their problems. We will further spread base and focus on site locations.”
Refusing to give a direct response to reports on how a US-Pakistan nuclear deal could affect India, Basu said, “We will just wait and watch.”
In the coming years, nuclear technology will play a vital role in social areas, including the Swachh Bharat and Clean Ganga campaigns. “Nuclear does not mean only power. There are so many social applications to nuclear technology that need to be optimally tapped,” Basu said.
Citing the example of the ‘Nisarguna’ (plant) technology started by BARC, which offers a viable solution to solid biodegradable waste, Basu said, “Bucket technology is our latest invention, which will convert all biodegradable waste from houses into manure.”