The nuclear reactor for the first Indian nuclear submarine INS Arihant was so complex that it took five decades, nearly fifty thousand personnel spread over 3 generations and a lot of money to build it, said Mr. Sekhar Basu, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission of India, during the release of the book ‘Submarine Propulsion -Muscle Power to Nuclear.’ Speaking at the BARC auditorium in Mumbai on 18th September 2016, he said the book catalogues the important aspects of the program and such history should be preserved to inspire the future generations. “If one reads in between the lines the book brings out the complexities of the secretive project,” he added.
Published under the imprint Frontier India, the book covers the Indian experience of developing a land based nuclear propulsion prototype codenamed PRP. Interestingly the book also covers similar programs from other nuclear submarine building countries. The book is also unique as the experts from Brazil, Argentina and France have contributed the status of similar programs from their own respective countries.
Mr. Kamlesh N Vyas, Director, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, who presided over the function, described the complexities of building the submarine reactor and the critical role played by the book’s author Mr. Anil Anand who was the Director, Reactor Projects Group, leading the Programme for Nuclear Propulsion for the Indian Nuclear Submarine Programme.
Speaking about the initial days of the project Mr. Anil Anand said the other departments were perplexed at the sheer number of engineers being ‘consumed’ by the project which had just a codename. He also dealt with the topic of technology denials by international community under the garb of NSG, CTBT and host of other such measures.
Dr S Banerjee, former DAE Chairman and Present Homi Bhabha Chair Professor at BARC, spoke of the various fuel energy alternatives considered before arriving at the current fuel. Other than the reactor, Anil Anand created a lot of trained people who have and some still are occupying high positions in the Atomic Energy institutions, he added.
The event was attended by a host of other dignitaries connect with the PRP program and some of them have contributed their own experiences in the book.