Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission
Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) only establishment of Bangladesh to conduct research and development on atomic energy. The principal motto of the commission is to ensure the use of atomic energy for peaceful purpose. Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission was established on 27 February 1973. At first BAEC started its activities at Jute Research Institute building. Afterwards it was transferred to Dhaka University campus at 4 Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue. Before 1988 it was spelled 'Bangladesh Anobik Shakti Kamishon' in Bangla, from then it was renamed 'Bangladesh Paramanu Shakti Kamishon'. All kinds of research and development activities of BAEC are conducted under three research wings: physical sciences, biological sciences and engineering.
The research organisations under physical sciences are: Atomic Energy Centre, Dhaka, atomic energy research establishment (AERE) at Savar, Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology, Reactor Operation and Maintenance Unit, Institute of Electronics and Physical Sciences, Institute of Computer Science, Nuclear Minerals Unit, beach sand exploitation centre at Cox's Bazar and Radioactivity experiment Laboratory at Chittagong Medical College Hospital. Institute of Food and Radiation Biology at AERE, Institute of Nuclear Medicine at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Nuclear Treatment Centres at Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Khulna, Comilla, Mymensingh, Rangpur, Barisal, Faridpur, Bogra and Sir Salimullah Medical College Hospital, and Nuclear Medicine Centre adjacent to Dinajpur Sadar Hospital are the institutions working under biological sciences.
The divisions working under Atomic Energy Centre- Dhaka are: Physics and Solar Energy Division, Accelerator and Facilities Division, Chemistry Division, Environmental Chemistry Department, Clinical Chemistry Division, Energy Chemistry Division, Electronics Division, Health Physics Division, Magnetic Division, and Non-destructive Testing Division.
The BAEC has developed various chemical analytical systems to ensure the quality control of products in areas like agriculture, industry, health and treatment, natural resources development, environmental pollution and ecological control etc. Chemists of BAEC are rendering chemical analytical services on various materials eg soil, water, fish, various metallic objects, food items, marine lives, industrial raw materials and finished products, blood, hair, urine, nails using methods invented by BAEC. One of the important duties of the commission is to aware the common people about the radioactivity level of the environment of the country examining soil, water, air, vegetables, milk and other food items. Scientists of the Atomic Energy Centre- Dhaka can identify the faults of welding, moulding, casting and machines of industries using non-destructive testing as radiography, ultrasonography, etc in a safe and proper way and also in a cheaper way. They also provide training on radiography, ultrasonography ie non-destructive testing.
The commission is now engaged in identifying the bedload deposited at the estuaries and exploration of groundwater applying radioactive isotopes. Engineers of Electronics Institute at Savar and Electronics Division of Atomic Energy Centre- Dhaka render special services in proper maintaining modern and sensitive electronics equipment used at different laboratories and educational institutions. In 1993 the commission installed a one 0.1million kurie powerful radiation plant 'Gamatech' for the first time in the country at Fouzdarhat industrial area in Chittagong with the joint venture of BEXIMCO which started operating commercially on 30 March 1993.
In 1993 the government passed the Radiation and Safety Control ordnance and gazetted it under Safety Act-1993. In the country use of x-ray, gamma ray and radioactive isotope has been increased in the fields of medical, agriculture, industry, hydrology, food preservation, etc. Excess irradiation from x-ray, gamma ray and radioactive isotope is harmful for human body. To ensure the controlled and safer use of radioactive devices in various farms the scientists of the commission render radiation safety services including filmbadge service regularly.
Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission is also engaged in exploring radioactive minerals in the country. Uranium and Thorium minerals have been discovered in Dauki and Juri of sylhet district. The commission has started feasibility survey to explore these minerals.
In view of the growing need for electricity against the inadequate supply of indigenous primary energy resources, the country needs to initiate economically profitable and technically viable nuclear power plants. Considering these factors the government conceived rooppur nuclear power project in 1961 and later decided to implement the project under supervision of BAEC. The commission is conducting research on the use of solar-cell technology under the renewable energy research programme and collecting data and information for the application of wind energy for power generation.
The commission regularly publishes its annual report focusing on its research and other activities. Besides it publishes a number of scientific periodicals including quarterly Paramanu Parikrama. The Nuclear Science and Application is the English journal of the commission. Two books Paramanu Kamishoner Atit O Bartaman (Past and present of the Atomic Energy Commission, in Bangla) and Tejoskriya Isotope (Radioactive Isotope, in Bangla) have been published by the commission. The society of the working scientists of the commission publishes a periodical Anyesha annually. Bangladesh got the membership of the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) on September 1972. BAEC actively maintains relationships with United States, France, Southeast and Pacific countries to conduct various research programmes jointly. [Masud Hasan Chowdhury]