Nuclear, space sectors contribute for Covid fight

Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Indian Space Research Organisation are contributing to the nation’s fight against Covid-19, reports Venkatachari Jagannathan.

Financing the setting up of the oxygen delivery infrastructure/oxygen beds and air conditioned mortuary in hospitals, supply of oxygen concentrators, designing ventilators, oxygen concentrators and supplying oxygen are some of the ways the two strategic sector players – NPCIL and ISRO- are contributing to the nation’s fight against coronavirus.

The NPCIL-Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd is the only atomic power generator in India while the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the country’s sole space agency.

“We have seven nuclear power generation sites. The needs of each site were different and hence they worked along with the local state administration to identify the needs and address the gap,” S.K.Sharma, Chairman and Managing Director NPCIL, told.

According to Sharma, the company had financed the oxygen delivery infrastructure for patients in hospitals, construction of air conditioned mortuary in a hospital in Rajasthan.

Sharma also said, NPCIL had made available oxygen concentrators for hospitals and also shared its own health care facilities with local authorities.

“We also converted one wing of our own hospitals as Covid Care Ward and our doctors also offered tele-consultation,” Sharma said.

According to him, a sum of Rs.43 crore has been spent on Covid-19 relief by NPCIL.

Out of about 11,000 employees about 1,400 of them got infected by Coronavirus. While about 1,200 have recovered, unfortunately 15 of them lost their lives battling the coronavirus and the balance are under treatment, Sharma said.

Sharma said the families of employees who lost their lives due to coronavirus were paid a solatium of Rs.30 lakh.

Dr Jitendra Singh said that the Department of Atomic Energy also successfully developed reagents for RT-PCR testing, besides powered respirators, Reefer, Portable Plasma sterilization and plasma incineration technology for medical waste.

On its part, the Indian space agency ISRO has started supplying oxygen out of its ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu.

The ISRO supplies to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Chandigarh.

“Our production capacity is very small,” ISRO Chairman K. Sivan had told.

Oxygen cylinders

ISRO’s Space Application Centre at Ahmedabad has converted two liquid nitrogen tanks with a capacity of about 1.65 lakh litres into liquid oxygen tanks for storage and supply in Ahmedabad and nearby hospitals.

Further, face shields and PPE kits are also being supplied to hospitals in Ahmedabad.

The space agency has also set up Covid Care Centres in Bengaluru, Shillong and Sriharikota.

The space agency has also developed ventilators and oxygen concentrators.

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