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Department of Atomic Energy to build India’s 1st Research Reactor on PPP Model

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Dept of atomic energy to build India’s 1st reactor on PPP modelThe Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) stated that India’s 1st Radioisotope Production (reactor) and processing facility complex will be built on Public Private Partnership (PPP) Model. It will be the 1st of its kind PPP in the world.

  • The facility complex will be one of the largest single facilities for production/processing of isotopes in the world in terms of volume.
  • The reactor will be designed by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and constructed by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), a subsidiary of DAE. The capital expenditure for construction will be provided by DAE.
  • The main objective behind the construction of the Radioisotope reactor is to make treatment for cancer and other diseases affordable, provide help in the farm sector (for food preservation), and make India self-reliant in production of key radioisotopes.
  • The project was proposed in May 2020 by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as part of Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative of DAE.

Technology of Production

i.DAE will share the technology of production of nuclear medicines with private entities which invest in construction of the reactor and processing units, these entities also get exclusive rights to process and market the radioisotopes produced in the reactor.

ii.In the April 2021 session, 17 companies including those from India expressed interest to partner with DAE for the project.

iii.The proposed project has the capability to transform India’s stature in the global nuclear medicine industry. The global nuclear medicine market is worth USD 6 Billion and is expected to reach USD 30 Billion by 2030.

iv.The reactor is expected to come online within five years of the beginning of the construction.


Radioisotopes are the unstable form of an element that emit radiation to transform into a more stable form.

i.They are used in Nuclear medicine for treatment of Cancer and also for several other purposes in the Industrial sector.

ii.The demand for isotopes for nuclear medicine is rising in India, between 2018 and 2020 nuclear medicine departments in hospitals in India have grown from 293 to 349.

  • In India, all major radioisotopes are produced by BARC (through its research reactors in its Trombay campus, Maharashtra and Accelerator in Kolkata, West Bengal).
  • Some radioisotopes are imported from Europe, Australia and other Asian countries.

iii.Radioisotopes in India can be procured and handled only by users which are authorised by Radiological Safety Division (RSD), Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

About Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)

It comes under the control of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds the portfolio of DAE (Lok Sabha – Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh)
Minister of State – Dr Jitendra Singh

About Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)

Director  – Dr. Ajit Kumar Mohanty
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra