Atomic Energy Commission Current Affairs - 2019

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India puts four more nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards

India has decided to place four more reactors under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. It was announced Sekhar Basu, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) at 62nd General Conference of IAEA held in Vienna, Austria. The four reactors include two Russian-designed Pressurised Light Water Reactors and two Pressurised Heavy Reactors being built with Indian technology. With this, total of 26 Indian nuclear facilities will be now under IAEA safeguards.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

IAEA is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. It was established as an autonomous organization in 1957 through its own international treaty, the IAEA Statute. Its headquarters are in Vienna, Austria. IAEA serves as international nuclear energy watchdog, independent of United Nations but reports to both United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and Security Council (UNSC).

IAEA Safeguards

They are system of inspection and verification of peaceful uses of nuclear materials as part of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). These safeguards mainly reiterates primacy to IAEA in its central role in promotion of atomic energy for peaceful uses and prosperity of the mankind while maintaining its due support in safeguards. IAEA safeguards activities are undertaken by Department of Safeguards, a separate department within IAEA.

Legal framework of safeguards: Information Circular 66 (INFCIRC 66), an agreement between IAEA and member states provides for conduct of limited safeguards within member state. Under it, member states identifies facilities that are made available for IAEA Safeguards inspection. Besides, Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), 1968 requires signatories to become members of IAEA and non-nuclear weapons states conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements under INFCIRC 153.

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Kamlesh Nilkanth Vyas appointed Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission

Appointment Committee of the Cabinet has appointed renowned scientist Kamlesh Nilkanth Vyas as chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and secretary of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). He will have tenure till he attains the age of 64 years, i.e. till May 2021.

He will succeed Shekhar Basu. Basu was appointed to the post in October 2015 and his tenure was to end in September 2016. However, he was given two extension of one year each one in 2016 and another in 2017 till September 2018.

Kamlesh Nilkanth Vyas

Vyas at present is Director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). He is Mechanical Engineering graduate from MS University, Vadodara. After completion of training in BARC training school in 1979, he had joined Fuel Design and Development Section of Reactor Engineering Division of BARC.

He has worked for design and analysis of nuclear reactor fuels. He was also responsible for design and development of a novel fuel for strategic applications. He has worked extensively in thermal hydraulics and stress analysis of critical reactor core components.

He has been conferred several awards including Indian Nuclear Society Outstanding Service Award 2011, Homi Bhabha Science and Technology Award 2006, DAE Awards in years 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013. He is also Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineers.

Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)

AEC is the governing body of the DAE which is under the direct charge of Prime Minister. It was established in 1948 to look after atomic energy activities in the country. Its functions are to organise research in atomic scientists in India, train atomic scientists in the country, promote nuclear research in commission’s own laboratories and undertake prospecting of atomic minerals and extract such minerals for use on industrial scale.

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