The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) came into action on August 3, 1954, under the direct charge of the Prime Minister through a Presidential Order. As per the Resolution constituting the AEC, the Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Atomic Energy is ex-officio Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.
DAE has been loaded with the development of nuclear power technology, applications of radiation technologies in the regions of agriculture, medicine, industry and basic research.
DAE consists of five research centers, three industrial organizations, five public sector undertakings, and three service organizations. It has under its aegis two boards for encouraging and funding extra-mural research in nuclear and allied fields, mathematics and a national institute (deemed university).
It also helps eight institutes of international repute engaged in research in basic sciences, astronomy, astrophysics, cancer research, and education. It also has in its fold an educational society that gives educational facilities for children of DAE employees.
The Indian Atomic Energy Commission was first established in August 1948 in the Department of Scientific Research, which was made a few months earlier in June 1948. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was established on August 3, 1954, under the direct charge of the Prime Minister through a Presidential Order. As a result, in accordance with a Government Resolution dated March 1, 1958, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was established in the Department of Atomic Energy. The Prime Minister (late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru) also laid a copy of this Resolution on the table of the Lok Sabha on March 24, 1958.
According to the Resolution constituting the AEC, the Secretary to the Government of the country in the Department of Atomic Energy is ex-officio Chairman of the Commission. The other representatives of the AEC are appointed for each calendar year on the recommendation of the Chairman, AEC and after approval by the Prime Minister.
The important programmes of the DAE are directed towards:
- improving the share of nuclear power in the Power Sector by the deployment of indigenous and other proven technologies, and to develop fast breeder reactors, as well as thorium-based reactors with associated fuel cycle facilities;
- Constructing and operating of research reactors for the production of radioisotopes, building other sources of radiation such as accelerators and lasers, and developing and deploying radiation technology applications in the fields of medicine, agriculture, industry, and basic research.
- Developing latest technologies such as accelerators, lasers, supercomputers, robotics, areas related to Fusion research, strategic materials and instrumentation, and encouraging the transfer of technology to industry.
- Carrying out and helping basic research in nuclear energy and related frontier areas of science; interaction with universities and academic institutions; support to research and development projects having a bearing on DAE’s programmes, and international cooperation in concerned advanced areas of research and contribution to national security.