While inaugurating the Hall, Dr Jitendra Singh said that today is a historic day not only for the Department of Atomic Energy, but for the whole India, since the DAE is one of the few departments whose Head quarters are not placed in national capital. There were certain historic reasons for this, he said, mainly that India’s nuclear programme owed its origin and legacy to Late Dr. Homi Bhabha who lived in Mumbai and set up the country’s first ever Atomic Research Centre over there. This peculiar paradox also ended up in a situation where in India’s nuclear programme, even though superior to that of most other nations of the world, did not find sufficient visibility or attention in the national capital of New Delhi.
With the setting up of “Hall of Nuclear Power” in New Delhi, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, not only will it be possible to showcase at the union capital, all the great achievements and milestones achieved by India’s nuclear programme in the last 60 years, but it will also be a befitting tribute to Dr. Homi Bhabha who had the vision and conviction to pledge that India’s nuclear programme will be devoted only to peaceful purposes, he added.
Dr. Jitendra Singh said that in the years to come, as India’s energy needs go on increasing, nuclear power will become one of the major sources of energy at competitively affordable rates for the benefit of large multitudes of people spread across the country.
Lauding the National Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) for having made this project possible, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, very soon, he plans to formally write to the Ministry of Human Resources Department (HRD) and the Ministry of Culture to ensure that a visit to “Hall of Nuclear Power” at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi is made an essential part of the itinerary to be followed by schools, colleges and youth groups during their educational and recreation trips to New Delhi. This would also help in inspiring young scientific minds to develop an aptitude for nuclear science and carry forward Dr. Homi Bhabha’s mission to the next generation, he said.
Dr Jitendra Singh also said that there are a large number of myths that come in the way of setting up of nuclear plants which delays the process of setting up of plants. There is no medical evidence to prove that nuclear plants have caused any health hazard, he added. All these myths need to be clarified, he emphasized. He also said that Unit 1 of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant was shut down due to natural processes that are followed and it will start functioning very soon. He also informed that Unit 2 of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant will be operational by March this year. He also said that the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi has natural temper for science and that inspire us to progress in the field of science.
Dr. Sekhar Basu, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy said that this is the third hall of its kind. While addressing the children attending the function he emphasized that they are the future of our country and they should take up the nuclear programme of the country in the coming years. He also said that nuclear radiation from nature is much more than that we get from the nuclear reactors. The rules regarding it should be followed, he added. He informed that India’s nuclear power generation capacity will reach 13, 500 MW after the completion of existing nuclear power plants. He also said nuclear energy’s non-power applications in the fields of medicine, agriculture, food preservation, waste treatment, water purification and industry are also significant.
Shri Kailash Chandra Purohit, Chairman & Managing Director, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) said that safety and security are given the top most priority. For this, public awareness is very important and work is being done in this direction, he added.
Shri G. S. Rautela, Director General, National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) said that communication methodology is very important in science as it is very difficult to make science simple and attractive. The Hall of Nuclear Energy is interactive and interesting, which is appealing to the children also, he added.
This Hall is North India’s first permanent exhibition on nuclear power built in the national capital. Similar galleries have also been built at Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai and Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Science Centre, Chennai. This gallery is dedicated to the nation during the Silver Jubilee year of NSC, Delhi.
The exhibition, titled ‘Hall of Nuclear Power – Atoms Serving the Nation’ is spread over an area of about 700 sq. m., with over 60 permanent exhibits, covering various aspects of nuclear energy, with prime focus on nuclear power plant safety and applications for human welfare, which include nuclear medicine, food irradiation, as well as several other day-to-day applications of nuclear energy. Scientific information about nuclear power generation, its basics and non-power uses of nuclear and radiation technology has also been showcased at the gallery. The gallery is replete with the state-of-the-art exhibits, interactive kiosks, virtual tour (of a nuclear power plant in a mini theater), glasses-free 3D displays, touch-screen info panels, as well as quiz and interactive Q&A exhibits for the visitors.
Nuclear experts appear live through pepper ghost holographic projections to answer visitors’ quarries. At the ‘Ask Budhiya’ exhibit, the popular comic figure ‘Budhiya’ – a well-informed common man – addresses misconceptions and myths about nuclear power and radiation.
The gallery has been set up at a cost of Rs. 2.5 crore at NSC, Delhi, a unit of NCSM, the apex organisation engaged in popularisation of science through its science centres spread all over the country, in technical and financial collaboration with NPCIL.
Shri N. Nagaich, Director (Human Resources), NPCIL, and Shri D. Rama Sarma, Director, National Science Centre, Delhi and other senior officers were also present on the occasion.