It may have been an easy choice as former Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Dr Anil Kakodkar received the Homi Bhabha Lifetime Achievement Award in January, at the 21st Annual Conference of the Indian Nuclear Society.
Kakodkar, a well-known critic of sections of the new nuclear law, is sceptical about the feasibility of the amount (Rs 1,500 crore) of insurance liability for Indian vendors, and believes that the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage law, passed after much debate in Parliament in August, is soft on foreign prime vendors while it will be hard on Indian suppliers.
Kakodkar was the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India and the Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Atomic Energy. Earlier, he was the Director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay from 1996-2000. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, Indiaâ€™s second highest civilian honour in 2009.
Kakodkar engages in designing the Advanced Heavy Water Reactor, which uses thorium-uranium 233 as the primary energy source with plutonium as the driver fuel. The unique reactor system, with simplified but safe technology, will generate 75 per cent of electricity from thorium. Because of easier availability of thorium, its application is expected to solve Indiaâ€™s energy crisis; the country may also be conveniently placed to leapfrog into thorium technology as several new reactors take shape.