Atomic Energy Centre, Dhaka
Atomic Energy Centre, Dhaka (AECD) first nuclear research centre of Bangladesh, located on the bangladesh atomic energy commission (BAEC) campus. The idea of establishing this laboratory was developed in the early sixties by a few Bangladeshi scientists working in the Karachi Nuclear Laboratory. Construction work with three major facilities viz a Van-de-Graff Accelerator, a 1620 IBM computer and a 5000 curie Co-60 gamma radiation source was completed by December 1964, and the centre was formally inaugurated on 27 April 1965.
The centre started its research activities in the field of physics, chemistry, isotope application, electronics, computer science, agriculture, radiobiology, nuclear medicine and health physics under eleven research and technical divisions. The most significant achievement of the centre was the development of two high-yielding varieties of rice – IRATOM-24 and IRATOM-38, and one variety of pulse – HYPROSOLA. In food science the technology of radiation processing for preservation of food such as fish, onion, and potato and sterilisation of medical products was acquired for practical applications.
After the independence of Bangladesh, atomic energy establishments located in Bangladesh became separated from the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. On 3 March 1972, the Bangladesh government appointed an eminent scientist as OSD (Officer on Special Duty) in the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs to look after the atomic energy establishments of the country. Bangladesh became a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency in September 1972 and the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission was later formed through the promulgation of a presidential order on 27 February 1973.
The centre now continues its basic and applied research mainly in the fields of the Physical Sciences. Research in physics, solar energy development, and nuclear and solar energy physics, comprising both experimental and theoretical investigations, was pursued. In solar energy physics, research efforts were mainly concerned with the development of solar panels with locally available materials.
With the establishment of the Institute of Electronics under the atomic energy research establishment (AERE) located at Savar, the activities of the electronic division have been reorganised. The former Isotope Application Division of AECD has been renamed as the Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Division to perform the specific task of quality control and conservation of structural materials in industry and other sectors. The Health Physics Division (HPD) is engaged in the development of atomic energy and application of ionising radiation and radioisotopes in health, agriculture and Industry. The HPD provides routine radiation protection service to individuals and different laboratories of BAEC. Such services along with necessary radiation protection guidance are also being provided to other organisations in the country, such as hospitals, the Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Co,icddr,b. [Miah Md Sirajul Haque] [Haque, Miah Md Sirajul Scientist (retd), Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission]