246 Physics and Chemistry PG students appeared

When a number of his friends at IIT Madras were on their way to Mamallapuram on Sunday, Tapas Ghosh took a right turn on Rajiv Gandhi Salai near Taramani.

He was one among the 246 Physics and Chemistry post graduate students who opted to appear for the competitive exam for the Orientation Course for Engineers and Scientists (OCES) held at the only examination centre in the city in Taramani.

The examination has 100 objective type questions based on the post graduate syllabus in basic sciences. Conducted by the Baba Atomic Research Centre Training Schools, it was held in other centres across the country as well. A good score in the examination and the interview might give Mr.Tapas an opportunity to travel the same road his friends took to reach Mamallapuram and in fact move even further to Kalpakkam.

In that case, he could continually get to enjoy the fascination of East Coast Road and consistently contribute towards strengthening of the nation's Nuclear Power Programme as a Nuclear Scientist at Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research in Kalpakkam. Kalpakkam Township is located just a few kilometres away from Mamallapuram Backwaters on the East Coast Road.

Candidates like Mr.Tapas could also join other units of the Department of Atomic Energy by successfully completing the OCES training programme. The training programme would cover nuclear technology fundamentals in addition to discipline-specific courses.

According to scientists at Kalpakkam, the selection process for OCES exam is rigorous, but after selection the nuclear scientists also have a lot of fun. Nuclear facilities are always located near lush green surroundings and adhere to strict norms for preserving the surrounding environment, they said. The number of aspirants for nuclear scientist job has increased this year, the scientists added.

For IIT students such as Gummadi Narasimha of Andhra Pradesh, the curiosity created by the string of protests against nuclear power projects in the country is one of the factors that influenced his decision to take the examination. “Interest in materials chemistry and the lure of a good job were other factors that made me write the OCES examination,” said Gummadi.

G.Naresh, another basic sciences student of IIT Madras, said that he wanted to be part of the team that takes up the challenge of bringing in a change in the nuclear energy programme by also respecting the aspirations of the local residents.

His friend, Mr.Tapas, added that the nation's demand for huge amount of power could only be met by a positive change in nuclear energy generation. “But the change has to be made by science, not by scientists.”

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