Sethna`s demise a great loss to the country: Scientists
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Last Updated: Monday, September 06, 2010, 20:03
Mumbai: Former Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) chairman Homi N Sethna's demise is a great loss to the country as he was responsible for steering the nuclear programme after the sudden death of Indian nuclear doyens Homi J Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai, senior atomic scientists said here today.

"It is a great loss to the county as a scientist and a patriot who upheld the honour and integrity of the country at a most crucial period in India's nuclear programme is no more," former AEC chairman M R Srinivasan said.

Sethna was one of the pioneers of India's nuclear programme and became the AEC chairman at a crucial period when the country lost Bhabha and Sarabhai.

It was when India's nuclear manpower and industry was just developing and he played a crucial role during his chairmanship for almost 12 years from 1972, Srinivasan said.

The late scientist had many achievements to his credit including the first scientist to do Plutonium separation and also to make first uranium ingot in the country, he said.

Sethna also had a difficult time with leadership in Delhi and ensuring support and achievements, Srinivasan said, adding his death is a great loss to all of the members of Department of Atomic Energy.

He (Sethna) was a strong, dynamic and dedicated project manager and executor, Srinivasan, who closely worked with him, said.

"Though a tough task master, beneath that tough exterior he was a warm human being and generous person," he said.(More) "Sethna and his wife Gulu never missed a wedding in the DAE families and were always there to bless the young couples," he said.

Former AEC chief Anil Kakodkar said Sethna's demise was a loss to the country and a great personal loss too.

"I was working closely with him and benefited a great deal by his guidance. It is big loss to the department," he said.

"Sethna was a no nonsensical man and was very open and forthright without fear which was an important characteristic of his personality."

Srikumar Banerjee, Chairman, AEC also said,"it is a big loss to all of us."

"After Bhabha, he was the chairman of the AEC for the longest period from 1972 to end of 1983 and that was the formative years for the establishment and he made a major contribution to Indian programme," Banerjee said.

His outstanding contribution to reprocessing of spent fuel which was used for the Pokhran I nuclear test cannot be forgotten, the Chairman said.

"In the recent past, even though he was not keeping well, when we called him to come and talk to young scientists, he would proudly tell them about his achievements," Banerjee said.


First Published: Monday, September 06, 2010, 20:03

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