Indian nuclear research labs to release 40 new technologies in 2022

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Seventy eight Transfer of Technology (ToT) agreements were signed during the year 2021, a report by Venkatachari Jagannathan

Indian nuclear research labs are likely to release about 40 new technologies for societal use in 2022, said a top official of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).

“It is expected that about 40 new technologies will be released in public domain during 2022. Seventy eight Transfer of Technology (ToT) agreements were signed during the year 2021,” K.N. Vyas, Secretary of DAE and Chairman of AEC said.

Last year, the nuclear of labs under DAE developed and released in the public domain a total of 38 technologies, Vyas said.

The last year’s number is higher than the 25 technologies that Vyas had expected and told IANS in the beginning of 2021.

Included in the 38 technologies that were released in the public domain were — a dongle for detection of elevated levels of gamma radiation; radiation monitoring watch; high quality respiratory face mask; Ultra Flexible Lead-free X-Ray Shields; high quality respiratory face mask; liquid nitrogen Based transportable refrigeration system for vaccine – Sheetal Vahak Yantra (SHIVAY-V) and others.

Since these technologies are meant for societal use and for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), the technology transfer fee is nominal and a revenue of a few crores were earned as a fee for application, technology transfers and royalties, he added.

According to Vyas, applications of Heavy Water in life sciences and pharmaceutical industries in recent times opened up scope for diversification in non-nuclear fields.

“Heavy Water Board (HWB) is engaged in production of lab scale D-labeled compounds for research purposes. HWB has collaborated with Indian companies for production of D-labeled compounds. HWB is also augmenting the D-labeled compound production facility at Heavy Water Plant (HWP), Baroda.

Speaking about the nuclear sector’s societal programmes in the areas like agriculture, food preservation and others, Vyas said two new rice varieties — Vikram TCR (VTCR) and CG Jawaphool Trombay (CGTJ) were developed and gazette notified for commercial cultivation in Chhattisgarh.

“Towards dissemination of Trombay varieties, 30,300 kg breeder seed of Trombay groundnut varieties, 6,500 kg of food legumes and 8,000 kg of rice varieties were produced and distributed to different seed producing agencies for foundation and certified seed production and for final deployment to the farmers in Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal,” Vyas added.

According to him, a total of 24 food irradiation plants have become functional in the country by the end of the year 2021.

Commercial trials for extending the shelf-life of potatoes through deployment of gamma radiation technology were conducted and the irradiated samples were found to be in good condition till eight months of storage, Vyas said.

“These irradiated potato samples were further channelised to the commercial processing industry for the manufacturing of end products including chips and French fries,” Vyas remarked.

He said some of the other notable societal programmes of Indian atomic energy sector are:

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project

–Efficacy of the gamma radiation technology was demonstrated for pest-disinfestations in cereals and pulses even after one year of storage.

–A hybrid granular Sequencing Batch Reactor (hgSBR) technology was developed for effective decentralised waste water treatment in a single treatment tank. The technology is scalable, compact and cost-effective. A 10 KLD (Kilo Litre per Day) plant was also showcased at Kumbh Mela at Haridwar. A 40 KLD hgSBR plant for Railway Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) colony, New Delhi was built through licensee.

–Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has developed technology for synthesis of prostate specific membrane antigen-11 (PSMA-11). It is a ligand for preparation of 68Ga-PSMA-11, which is used for diagnosis of prostate cancer.

–A large number of samples were irradiated during the year for isotope production. Medical isotopes such as Mo-99, I-131 & Cu-64 have been supplied to BRIT.

The BARC and Pune Municipal Corporation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a plant to convert the municipal dry sludge into organic manure through radiation hygienisation technology, Vyas remarked.

The first facility with 100 tonnes/day has been operating at Ahmedabad since February 2019. The second plant of 100 tonnes/day capacity has been constructed by Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) at Indore.

A Regional Calibration Facility (RCF) has been established at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) towards calibration of Gamma radiation protection instruments.

“Approximately, 2,000 radiation protection instruments have been calibrated in this facility. The facility caters to the requirements of DAE as well as non-DAE establishments like hospitals, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and others,” Vyas said.

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