Atomic Energy Current Affairs

Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha to fast track nuclear power projects

Union Government has introduced Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015 to facilitate and fast track setting up of new nuclear projects in the country.

It was introduced by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Atomic Energy and Space Dr Jitendra Singh. The Bill seeks to amend the Atomic Energy Act, 1962.

Key provisions of the Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015

Under the Act, a government company is one in which at least 51% of the paid-up share capital is held by the central government.  Paid-up share capital is the capital received by a company from the issue of shares.

  • Redefines paid-up share capital: Expands the definition of paid-up share capital in parent Act to include joint ventures (JV) of public sector undertakings (PSUs).
  • The whole of the paid up share capital would be held by one or more PSUs and empowers the Union government to constitute its Board of Directors for such JV.
  • Licenses: Henceforth it will only be granted to entities such as a government company or a department of Union Government.
  • Under the parent Act, license is required for acquisition, production, use, export and import of any plant designed for the production and development of atomic energy or research.
  • License granted will be cancelled if it ceases to be a government company for (i) acquiring and using substances or minerals from which atomic energy can be obtained (ii) producing atomic energy etc.

Comment

The amendment to Atomic Energy Act, 1962 has been proposed to facilitate the fast expansion of nuclear power and its generation in the country to meet electricity demand. The passage of Bill would enable Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCI) to enter into joint ventures (JVs) with other public sector undertakings (PSUs) for civil nuclear power projects.

Note: The Atomic Energy Act, 1962 empowers the Union government to produce, develop, control, and use atomic energy.

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Shekhar Basu appointed as Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission

Renowned scientist Shekhar Basu has been appointed as the Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and Secretary of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

He will replace R K Sinha who superannuates on 23 October 2015. He will have tenure till September 19, 2016 i.e. till he attains the age of 64 years.

Prior to this appointment Mr. Basu was Director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Chief executive of the Nuclear Recycle Board (NRB).

Achievements of Shekhar Basu

  • Instrumental in setting up waste management and reprocessing facilities at Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) in Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu.
  • Credited for commissioning land-based Nuclear Submarine Propulsion Plant (NSPP) at Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu.
  • One of the architects of India’s 80 megawatt (MW) compact pressurised water reactor (PWR), which will power country’s nuclear-powered submarine Arihant.
  • Instrumental in setting up India Neutrino Observatory (INO) and Power Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plant at Tarapur.
  • Awards: Padma Shri.

About Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)

  • AEC is the governing body of the DAE which is under the direct charge of the Prime Minister.
  • It was established in 1948 to look after atomic energy activities in the country.
  • Functions: (i) Organise research in atomic scientists in India (ii) Train atomic scientists in the country (iii) Promote nuclear research in commission’s own laboratories (iv) Undertake prospecting of atomic minerals and extract such minerals for use on industrial scale.

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