NEW DELHI: The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), which hogged the limelight for unnatural death of nuclear scientists in the past few years, is faced with a different challenge now: Attrition. As many as 85 scientists have left the country’s top nuclear research facility in the last five years, according to an RTI reply.
The reason ranges from lack of professional working environment to harassment. Early this year, a BARC scientific officer went missing after sending an email to her family in which she cited wok pressure and mental harassment by her senior. She, however, returned home a week later.
This was not the first time when such allegations were made. In 2015, a group of BARC scientists wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging harassment and victimisation by their seniors and sought his intervention.
Things seem to have not improved as the RTI query revealed that 85 scientists and technical officers— mostly in their early or mid level—have quit between 2012 and 2016. The centre did not give any reason for the same.
The number of deaths in the nuclear research facility presents a horrific story as 73 suicides, including by many scientists, were reported between 1995 and 2016. Many BARC scientists were also found dead in mysterious conditions and murdered.
According to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), adequate arrangements are in place at workplace and departmental residential township for security of scientists.
“Unnatural death of scientists/employees of DAE are always being accorded due importance and this office monitors sensitive cases of death from time to time in consultation with Units, Intelligence Bureau, local police,” said the DAE.
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai
The premier nuclear research facility was founded in 1954. It is named after Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha who conceived the Nuclear Programme in India.
Expertise: Advanced reactor technologies and nuclear power
Future Plans: New technologies for development of nuclear power