Radiation technology finds varied applications in the field of industry, healthcares, agriculture and research. The Department of Atomic Energy’s Programme relating to radiation technologies and application, covers building and operation of research reactors for production of isotopes, building of other sources of radiation such as accelerators and lasers. DAE is also working on developing technology application in the field of medicine, agriculture and industry. India is also a leading producer of radioisotopes in the world.
(1) Application of nuclear technology in agricultural field:
Radiation technology is a potent tool in the development of high yielding seed varieties by mutation, increasing shield life of food by way of delayed ripening and sprouting, pest control by killing insects.
For decades, BARC in collaboration with agricultural universities has been engaged in research and development in the field of crop improvement. The centre has successfully developed and released more than 20 high yielding crop varieties for commercial cultivation.
It includes groundnuts, pulses, jute, rice etc. BARC has also successfully developed green manure crop sesbania Rostrata. BARC has also developed a tissue culture based protocol for rapid multiplication of some commercial cultivation of banana. By using Micro propagation technology the BARC has standardized large scale multiplication of pineapple and sugarcane.
(2) Nuclear medicine and healthcare:
Radioisotope and their formulation have got wide application in diagnosis, therapy and health care. To provide lowest alternative teletherapy unit, a cobalt-60 teletherapy machine has been developed by BARC. Another development is digital imaging system based on charge coupled device. For detection of TB infection, BARC has developed sero-diagnostic test kit. Radioimmuniassays (RIA) and related procedures are being used for measurements of hormones, enzymes, certain serum proteins.
(3) Water management:
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre has developed a number of desalination technologies based on multistage flash evaporation reverse osmosis and low temperature evaporation. Using these technologies desalination plants have been developed for providing potable water in rural areas and on ships. To utilize low pressure steam and waste heat from nuclear reactors, BARC is setting up a 6300 cubic meter/day nuclear desalination demonstration plant at Kalpakkam.
(4) Industrial applications of radio isotopes:
By using nuclear technology BARC has immensely contributed to the detection and recharge conditions of ground water bodies in Orissa, MP, UP and Himalayan regions. BARC’s expertise in gamma-scanning is being used in major petro-chemical industries for troubleshooting in process equipment, detecting heats in buried pipelines.