Department of Atomic Energy Current Affairs
The 27th Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2018) was held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The six-day event is organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and hosted by Department of Atomic Energy and Gandhinagar-based Institute of Plasma Research.
The aim of FEC 2018 was to provide forum for discussion of key physics and technology issues as well as innovative concepts of direct relevance to the use of nuclear fusion (reaction that powers Sun and stars) as a source of energy. During this conference, experts from across the world discussed innovative concepts on using nuclear fusion as source of energy. They also discussed new challenges being faced by fusion community in the light of a number of next-step fusion devices being implemented currently. Among participants included international bodies like ITER Organisation and European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). The research institutes involved in developing smaller plasma devices also participated.
The Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), an Indore-based unit of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has developed an instrument called Fluorimeter, to measure traces of uranium in water.
The device is capable of examining traces of uranium in sample of water from 0.1 PPB (Parts-per-billion) unit to 100 PPB. It can be easily taken anywhere and water can be taken from any source for testing to instantly reveal if uranium traces present in water.
It costs around Rs 1 lakh. For mass production of this instrument, DAE has transferred its technology to its other unit, Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL). The device will be especially helpful in areas like Punjab where uranium traces in water sources have been found to be at dangerous levels.
Uranium is a radioactive element. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has fixed tpermissible radiological limit to 60 PPB of uranium concentration for drinking water. It is advisable to people to avoid using water from sources where uranium traces are more than fixed limit. Drinking water with high levels of uranium traces increases radiological and chemical risks to human health. It may cause thyroid cancer, blood cancer, depression and other serious ailments.