Atomic Energy Commission
The Atomic Age started on July 16, 1945, when there was a successful ignition of the “Gadget” at the Trinity Test in New Mexico. That was the period after the end of World War II when the future of the wartime Manhattan Project was unclear due to various difficulties regarding production plants, laboratories, and the administrative offices were scattered across thirteen states. Even the employment levels had dropped drastically at the Manhattan Project sites.
The Atomic Energy Act of 1946
Especially when the World War II ended and after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many atomic scientists spoke more freely about the problems associated with nuclear development. So, in November 1945, they created the Federation of Atomic Scientists and started working towards civilian control of nuclear research and production. Many scientists also proposed during this time that there needed to be increased international cooperation and control of nuclear weapons.
Congress eventually came up with a bill written by Senator Brien McMahon that later became the Atomic Energy Act, also known as the McMahon Act, which was passed in July 1946. The bill was about creating the Atomic Energy Commission, a civilian committee that would have five members, one of whom would be the chairman and also act as a spokesperson. The AEC took over the responsibility of United States nuclear development from the Manhattan Engineer District.
With the help of atomic scientists, McMahon had initially proposed that the military control of the AEC should be cut altogether, much to the frustration of General Leslie Groves. Groves also tried to convince Senator Arthur Vandenberg for submitting an amendment that comes up with a “military liaison board” to the AEC. This would result in the creation of a Military Liaison Committee (MLC) that had representatives chosen by the president. The MLC would be kept in the loop about all the AEC decisions and had the power to make recommendations, but did not have any final authority. There were many amendments made to ensure strict security measures for secrecy.
The Atomic Energy Act was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman on August 1, 1946, which officially formed the Atomic Energy Commission.
Atomic Energy Commission, (AEC)
Atomic Energy Commission, (AEC), U.S. federal civilian agency was established for controlling the production and development of nuclear weapons. It was also aimed at directing the research and ensuring the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The AEC succeeded the Manhattan Engineer District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (which had developed the atomic bomb during World War II) on Dec. 31, 1946, and formally took control of the nation’s nuclear program.
The AEC was managed by a five-member team of commissioners, one of whom served as chairman. The AEC dedicated most of its resources for developing and producing nuclear weapons during the late 1940s and early ’50s. But it also formed many small-scale nuclear-power plants for research purposes. The Atomic Energy Act was amended in 1954 to give the private industry the freedom to build nuclear reactors (for electric power). In 1956, the AEC approved the construction of the world’s first two large, privately owned atomic-power plants.
During the chairmanship of Glenn T. Seaborg from 1961 to 1971, the AEC worked with private industry for forming nuclear fission reactors that were economically competitive with thermal generating plants. During the 1970s, there was a glaring commercial utilization of nuclear power in the United States.
Though the AEC had practically created the American nuclear-power industry, it had to control the functioning to ensure public health and safety and safeguard national security. Due to these twofold responsibilities, the U.S. government later disbanded the AEC under the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 and divided its functions among two new agencies: the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (q.v.), which manages the nuclear-power industry; and the Energy Research and Development Administration, which was disbanded in 1977 when the Department of Energy was formed.
Atomic Energy Commission of India
|Formed||August 3, 1948; 69 years ago|
|Preceding agency||Department of Scientific Research|
|Annual budget||Rs. 214.70 billion (FY 2009)|
|Agency executive||Sekhar Basu, Chairman|
The Indian Atomic Energy Commission was created in August 1948 by the Department of Scientific Research, which was also formed just a few months earlier in June 1948. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was setup on August 3, 1954 under the direct charge of the Prime Minister through a Presidential Order. Later, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was formed in the Department of Atomic Energy in accordance with a Government Resolution dated March 1, 1958. The Prime Minister (late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru) also presented a copy of this Resolution during the Lok Sabha held on March 24, 1958.
As per the Resolution comprising the AEC, the Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Atomic Energy is ex-officio Chairman of the Commission. All the other members of the AEC get appointed during each calendar year according to the recommendation of the Chairman, AEC and after approval by the Prime Minster.
Here is the present composition of the AEC as per Notification No. AEC-1(1)/17/15714 dated December 06, 2017:
|Dr Sekhar Basu
Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy
|Shri Nripendra Misra
Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister
|Shri Ajit Kumar Doval
National Security Advisor
|Shri Pradeep Kumar Sinha
|Shri Vijay Keshav Gokhale
|Shri Ajay Narayan Jha
Secretary Department of Expenditure
Secretary Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare
|Dr. M.R. Srinivasan
Former Chairman AEC
|Prof. P. Rama Rao,
Former Secretary Department of Science and Technology
|Dr. Anil Kakodkar
Former Chairman, AEC
|Dr. R. B. Grover
DAE Homi Bhabha Chair Professor
|Dr. K. Kasturirangan
Former Chairman Space Commission &
Former Member, Planning Commission
|Shri K.N Vyas, Director,
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
|Shri Arun Srivastava,
Head Institutional Collaboration and Programs Division, NCPW, DAE
Functions of the Atomic Energy Commission
1. Conduct research concerning atomic science in the country.
2. Train atomic scientists.
3. Encourage nuclear research in the Commission’s laboratories.
4. Take on potential exploration for atomic minerals in India and extract minerals so that they can be used on the industrial scale.
The Atomic Energy Commission’s Five Research Centres
- Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai
- Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam (Tamil Nadu)
- Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Indore
- Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC), Kolkata
- Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), Hyderabad.
It also provides financial assistance to various autonomous national institutes that are involved in research in the field and has many organizations under it.
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