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Sethna`s demise a great loss to the country: Scientists

Last Updated: Monday, September 6, 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,

"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

"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


First Published: Monday, September 6, 2010 - 20:03
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