Statement of Secretary DAE Dr Sekhar Basu at the 62nd General Conference of the IAE

Following is the statement made by Dr. Sekhar Basu, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India and Head of the Indian delegation, at the 62nd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in Vienna, Austria today:

“I take this opportunity to convey on behalf of the people of India and the Government of India the warmest greetings to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Member States on the occasion of the 62nd General Conference.

Let me congratulate you Madam President on your election as President of 62nd General Conference. I am sure that under your able leadership the current General Conference will accomplish successfully all the tasks laid before it.

India reiterates its assigning 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.

As in earlier years, India’s interaction with IAEA remained intense. This year, we miss DG Amano’s presence. We wish him early recovery.

I was privileged to participate in the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century, held at Abu Dhabi last year.

We have placed, two Russian designed Pressurised Light Water Reactor and two Pressurised Heavy Reactors being built with Indian technology under IAEA Safeguards. Thus, in all 26 Indian nuclear facilities are placed under IAEA Safeguards.

The 27th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2018) aiming to provide a forum for the discussion on key physics and technology issues is being held in India in October 2018.

Nuclear power and its applications has always been well integrated globally. Keeping up with the pace of enhancing our international cooperation, we have signed:

  1. Industrial way forward agreement between NPCIL, India and EDF of France in March 2018 for the establishment of six nuclear power reactors of EPR technology;
  1. Agreement with the Department of Natural Resources of Canada on Science & Technology and Innovation
  1. Cooperation agreement with VINATOM of Vietnam on training and capacity building.

I am glad to inform that in the field of Neutrino Physics we signed inter-governmental collaboration agreement with Fermilab during the visit of US Secretary of Energy to India in April this year.

On the multilateral front India has assumed chairmanship of ITER Council since 1st January 2018 for a period of two years. Government of India also approved cost escalation for the in kind contribution part of the project.

During the last General Conference we informed about our plans to build 21 reactors by 2030. I am glad to inform that the implementation of this programme is well on track. In addition our discussions with foreign partners for bringing different technology is on.

In the power sector our notable achievement was one of the longest run of reactor UNIT 1 of Kaiga plant site. By reaching 859 days of continuous operation, it has become 3rd longest running plant in the world; four others reactors also continue to operate for 450 days and above. These achievements establishes the soundness of the technology and efficiency in operation and maintenance.

Unit one and two at Karapar Power Station experienced pressure tube leaks. Following in depth study of the root cause of the events and after detailed evaluation by AERB these units have been permitted to restart. This Monday Unit 2 was restarted after coolant channel replacement.

Our indigenously developed prototype fast breeder reactor of 500 MWe is now undergoing sodium commissioning. We expect criticality next year.

I am happy to inform that APSARA (U) an upgraded swimming pool type rector became operational this month at Trombay. Reactor is designed to produce a large variety of Isotope and serve the nuclear physicists, material scientists and reactor designers providing state of art facilities. I may add that we can share this technology with the new-comers in nuclear field.

With an understanding that the burden of cancer is increasing especially in developing countries, Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), has played a significant role in enhancing the capacity of trained manpower to deal with the problem of cancer by short term and long term training to IAEA fellows. Over 150 personnel, from Africa and Asia have been trained in the field of cancer care.

I would also like to inform that Cyclone-30, a medical cyclotron, the largest in India, delivered 30 MeV beam for the first time this month. This cyclotron is capable of meeting radioisotope needs for entire Eastern India and will also meet the requirements of Paladium 103 and Germanium 68 for the entire country. The facility will also have dedicated beam lines for research in material science and nuclear physics.

Development of cost effective drug for cancer care has been a priority for us. 21 Nos. radiopharmaceuticals for diagnosis and therapy and two radionuclide generators have been developed in the recent past. Nuclear waste has always been considered as a resource in India. Clinical grade Yttrium 90 in 90Y Acetate form has been extracted from high level waste and was introduced for patient care.

Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP), established in 2010, has started gaining popularity. Since last September we have organised 10 international programmes on a variety of subjects including the areas of nuclear safety, security and safeguards; physical protection of nuclear facilities,

emergency response to radioactive disperse devices etc. Interested member countries are welcome to join us either as faculty or choose relevant training programmes and we can have them scheduled in consultation with IAEA.

We thank the city of Vienna, and the people and the Government of Austria, for hosting the IAEA, with the commitment of a gracious host. We also thank the IAEA Secretariat for the excellent logistics and meeting related support.

India looks forward to IAEA’s continued leadership for fostering safe, secure and sustainable use of nuclear energy in the future. India will continue to support IAEA in all its endeavour.

We wish the 62nd General Conference a grand success.

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