India will be leader in nuke energy: C.N.R. Rao

    By IANS,

    Bangalore : India will become a leader in nuclear energy with new technology which is being used for the first time to build a fast breeder reactor to generate 500MW at Kalpakkam near Chennai, a top scientist said Sunday.

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    “We are building a fast breeder reactor, the first of its kind to generate 500MW through a process which is different from the usual nuclear reactor,” Prime Minister’s scientific advisory council chairman C.N.R. Rao told IANS here.

    Rao, who was named Saturday for the country’s highest civil award, the Bharat Ratna, for his outstanding contribution in science, said if the new technology succeeded, the reactor would be commissioned by April 2014 at the Kalpakkam atomic power plant, about 80km from Chennai in Tamil Nadu.

    “If this succeeds, we will become a leader in nuclear energy with completely new technology, which we have mastered,” Rao said.

    Claiming that Indian scientists had performed well despite marginal investment in science infrastructure, Rao said the scientific community had done much more than the money it was given over the decades.

    “The best money the government gave scientists was only enough for 20 percent of their requirement. We have never made full investment in anything. Ask the government and politicians why they have given so little for us. If I have to get $1,000, I get only $10, which is 10 percent and comes late,” Rao said at his home-office in the green campus of the premier Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in the city centre.

    Noting that China was already doing peta-computing and hexa-computing, Rao said he was fighting with the government to invest in super computing so that at least a great institute like IISc would have a centre, which was proposed a decade ago.

    “India is worst in computing power. We don’t work hard like the Chinese. We are easy going because we are not nationalists. Every Chinese is proud of his country. How many Indians are proud to be so? Given a little chance, they run away to America. We too could have done that, but did not because we had pride to be Indians and work for the country. This is the second negative part of Indian psyche,” Rao said.

    Regretting that the quantity of scientific papers published in India remained flat, the eminent scientist said China had increased its scientific publications and was going to be number one in the world in the area next year.

    “Though America is currently number one, publishing 16.5 percent of the world’s scientific papers, followed by China with 12 percent, China is set to over take next year, while India’s contribution has not increased from 2-3 percent,” Rao said.