Monday, May 09, 2011

IIT-Bombay to start masters in n-engineering

Amidst concerns about India’s nuclear programme in the wake of the Fukushima crisis, the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B), is launching a new masters programme with specialisation in nuclear engineering this year. Approved recently, the institute plans to take in only eight students for the course in the first year.

Prof. S.L. Bapat who heads the IIT’s Mechanical Engineering Department, which will run the course, said the programme was under consideration ever since India decided to go in for nuclear power generation in a big way. "There is a huge need for trained personnel in the area of nuclear energy and reactor operation as it requires specific inputs and expertise. There are very few specialised courses in nuclear engineering. We have previously conducted some courses in this area. We, therefore, aim to provide skilled engineers and this is important as safety of nuclear power plants have assumed greater significance now," said Bapat.

The programme will focus on nuclear reactor engineering and safety, thermal engineering, removal of heat generated by nuclear reactions and other critical aspects. While the student intake will be increased in the subsequent years, the curriculum will be updated as and when required. Some fellowships will also be offered by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

As conventional energy sources like coal and oil will become extinct in a few decades, one has to look for the alternative sources, he said. "Other sources like solar thermal plants can also supplement, but they cannot be a replacement for large capacity thermal power plants as major sources of electricity generation," Bapat added.

Fewer applicants for BARC course
The number of applications for the "orientation course for engineering graduates and science postgraduates (OCES)" conducted by the five training schools of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has dipped by over 50 per cent compared to last year. The OCES programme is a one-year course and on successful completion of training, candidates join as scientific officers in one of units of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

The number of candidates registering for the course this year was 41,800 as compared to 88,000 for the 2010-11 academic year. The applications last year, in fact, had seen a huge jump of nearly 200 per cent over 2009-10. BARC had then said that renewed interest in tapping nuclear energy and focus on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal were responsible for the increase.

BARC officials denied the possibility that the dip this year could be a fallout of the Fukushima crisis. "The fall in the number of applications is linked with job market conditions. The fluctuations are wild at times. Fukushima could not have any influence on the number of applications. This is because the issues raised by Fukushima are in the domain of policy formulation and do not concern a graduating student whose concern is to get a job," said R.R. Puri, head of BARC’s HRD Division.

Source: The Indian Express, May 9, 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive