BORN on November 11, 1943, in Barwani village of Madhya Pradesh, Dr Anil Kakodkar joined the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in 1964 and became its Director in 1996. He was the Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, and Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Atomic Energy, during 2000-09. He was DAE Homi Bhabha Chair Professor at BARC during 2010-15.
In BARC’s reactor engineering division he played a key role in design and construction of the Dhruva reactor, an original high-tech project. He was in the core team of architects of India’s peaceful nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998. He also led the indigenous development of India’s pressurised heavy water reactor technology and rehabilitated two reactors at Kalpakkam and the first unit at Rawatbhata.
Dr Kakodkar led the pursuit of utilising thorium as a fuel for nuclear energy and development of national capability in all aspects of atomic energy for which he built competent teams of specialised scientists and engineers. Currently, he 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 two-thirds of electricity from thorium. His efforts have made India a country with advanced nuclear technology.
Dr Kakodkar has been a recipient of the Padma Shri (1998), Padma Bhushan (1999), and the Padma Vibhushan (2009), besides other highly acclaimed awards in recognition of his immense contributions. He also holds key positions in various important organisations and institutions of repute such as the Atomic Energy Commission, ONGC Energy Centre Trust, IIT Bombay and so on. Currently, he holds the INAE Satish Dhawan Chair of Engineering Eminence at BARC. At present, Dr Kakodkar is the Chairman, Board of Directors, NISER, Bhubaneswar.
VOL. 9, ISSUE 9 | DEC, 2015