Udayavni Special

BARC evolves design for 1st PPP research reactor for nuclear medicine


Team Udayavani, Jan 29, 2021, 5:39 PM IST

Mumbai: The city-based Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) on Friday announced that it has “evolved” the design for the country’s first public private partnership research reactor for production of nuclear medicines.

The state-run the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) will share the technology of production of a variety of nuclear medicines and the private entities will get exclusive rights to process and market the isotopes produced in the research reactor, in lieu of investing in the reactor and processing facilities, an official statement said.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had in May last year announced establishment of a Research Reactor in public private partnership (PPP) mode for production of medical isotopes as a part of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat initiatives for DAE.

DAE has initiated discussion with potential Indian and global investors regarding this project to seek their inputs, and investor roadshows are planned starting from the ongoing quarter, it said, adding this will be followed with a formal tender process for selection of private partners.

The proposed reactor is expected to come online within five years of the beginning of the construction. The construction is planned to start after obtaining all requisite permissions, it said.

“This project will be a major step towards making India self-reliant in key radio isotopes used in medical and industrial applications. As a result, it will increase availability of effective and affordable treatments for cancer,” Atomic Energy Commission chairman and DAE’s secretary K N Vyas said.

The large scale and the technology being deployed for the planned research reactor will enable India to not only become a significant global player in the growing nuclear medicine market, but also have one of the most modern research reactors anywhere in the world, he added.

BARC’s director A K Mohanty said the institution has been premier research institute for research in radio-isotopes for medical, industrial and research purposes for more than 60 years, and has developed many new radio-isotopes, reducing import dependency as well as making the life-saving isotopes available to the country’s poorest of the poor at a most reasonable cost.

Nuclear medicine is a USD 6 billion market globally and is expected to grow to USD 30 billion by 2030.

At present, India produces all major isotopes in the country under the aegis of BARC and also imports some from Europe, Australia and other Asian countries, it said, adding the planned PPP can transform India’s stature in the global nuclear medicine industry.

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