In a first, power transfer at India’s atomic energy establishment happens in Vienna

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on September 21, 2018 Published on September 21, 2018

KN Vyas (right), Director, BARC takes charge as Secretary, DAE, and Chairman, AEC, from Sekhar Basu

KN Vyas and his predecessor Sekhar Basu were in Austrian capital for an IAEA meet

For the first time in India’s strategic atomic energy sector, the transfer of power at the highest level took place in a foreign country.

Kamlesh Nilakanth Vyas, the newly-appointed Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), who also Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), took charge from incumbent Sekhar Basu in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday.

While the development is curios and raises questions, the only explanation seems to be that both the top DAE officials were attending the 62nd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting which was held between September 17-21 at the Agency headquarters in the Austrian capital.

A statement on the DAE website said blandly that Vyas, Director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, took charge as Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy and Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission from Sekhar Basu.

Sekhar Basu’s extended term (including two extensions of one year each) ended on September 19 when he completed the age of 66. As per norms, the AEC Chairman can hold office up to the age of 66, subject to government approval. In a notification dated September 18, the Personnel Ministry announced the appointment of KN Vyas to succeed Basu. This was approved by the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet.

As per the notification, Vyas’ term will continue till he attains the age of 64 or up to May 3, 2021. He is the 12th Chairman of the Department created by Homi J Bhabha, the first Chairman, in 1954.

Vyas, an alumnus of the 1979 batch of BARC Training School, has worked extensively on design and analysis of nuclear fuels after starting his career at the Reactor Engineering Division. A fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineers, he has won several awards, including the Homi Bhabha Science & Technology Award.

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Published on September 21, 2018
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