Mains Daily Question
Dec. 28, 2020

  1. Highlight the ways in which atomic energy can be put to peaceful uses.



  • Introduce with highlighting the peaceful use of atomic energy

  • Explain peaceful uses of atomic energy in medicine, industry, agriculture etc.

  • Conclude appropriately

Model Answer

US President D Eisenhower brought international focus on peaceful uses of atomic energy with his “Atoms for Peace” initiative in 1953. In India, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was founded in 1954, with Dr Homi Bhabha at its helm. The AEC is the governing body of the Department of Atomic Energy, whose motto is “Atoms in the service of the nation”.

Peaceful Uses of Atomic energy

  1. Medicine

  2. Diagnosis: Radiopharmaceuticals uses trace amounts of radioactive material that are selectively localised in the body and retained at the sites of diseases. This locus is then imaged by using gamma scintigraphy. Eg Positron Emission Tomography (PET Scan)

  3. Treatment:

  4. Targeted radionuclide therapy: Radioactive material is introduced in the body which localises at disease site and delivers cytotoxic doses of radiation to specific disease sites without affecting normal surrounding tissues

  5. Radiation therapy delivers high energy radiation using a machine (external beam radiation or teletherapy), or by inserting the source within the body (brachytherapy)

  • Hydrogel: Developed by BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) using gamma or electron beam irradiation helps in burn wound healing

  1. Sterilization of medical equipment such as gloves, surgical instruments etc

  2. Agriculture

  3. To induce mutations to develop pest- or drought-resistant crops, or to develop high yielding varieties

  4. Food preservation by irradiation and disinfecting. This will reduce the 30% food wastage seen in India due to pest attack, moulds infestation and contamination.

  5. Radiation delays ripening and senescence

  6. Energy: Nuclear energy provides a low carbon way of generating electricity. India has 22 nuclear power plants (capacity of 6780 MW) with 12 under way. It provides 1.2% of the total energy mix.

  7. Waste management: Hygenization of sludge and waste water to make it less polluting once it enters streams and rivers. It can be made part of Swachch Bharat.

  8. Water

  9. Purification

  10. Isotope hydrology techniques to estimate and trace underground water resources; monitor surface water

  11. Measure water contamination

  12. Academic
    1. Carbon dating to estimate age of fossils using radioactive decay

  13. Industry
    1. Ionizing smoke detectors

    2. Radiography (use of X rays) to find defects in metallic castings and welds

Atomic/Nuclear Energy in India (and other nuclear states) is completely under the control of the government. India has done well in successfully harvesting this science in an attempt to solve many of the country’s problems such as medical cures, electricity generation, etc.


Subjects : Current Affairs
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