Saha Institute for Nuclear Physics

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Last Updated: November 21, 2011
Other Name: N/A
Location: Calcutta, Bidhannagar
Subordinate To: Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)
Size: Saha has a staff of 548 including 389 researchers and technicians.
Facility Status: Active

Founded in 1940 as the Institute of Nuclear Physics, the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in Kolkata conducts research on theoretical and experimental physics and provides post-graduate training in nuclear, plasma and high-energy physics. Although the institute primarily conducts research for peaceful purposes, some of the institute's research does have applications for building nuclear weapons. Although there is no evidence that directly ties Saha's work to India's nuclear weapons program, the institute's links with the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the nature of its activities suggest that some knowledge may have been transferred toward nuclear weapons development. The institute receives DAE support, including grants worth 10.3 million rupees in fiscal year 1997. The U.S. Department of Commerce and Energy named Saha as an Indian proliferation entity and targeted it for sanctions following the May 1998 nuclear tests.

Activities
  • Saha's operates a tokamak fusion research reactor that it procured from the Toshiba Corporation in Japan. This reactor was commissioned in 1987. Work on the tokamak involves scientists from the Saha Institute for Nuclear Physics as well as from the Institute of Plasma Research in Ahmedabad and the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC).
  • The Saha Institute conducts research on tritium production and inertial confinement fusion.
  • The site has a machine tool workshop that can manufacture components for the fusion reactor as well as for carbon dioxide-laser equipment. Saha also has a mass spectrometer, isotope-separator, and carbon dioxide-laser production equipment.

Sources:
[1] Andrew Koch, "Selected Indian Nuclear Facilities," Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), 1999, www.nonproliferation.org.
[2] Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, www.saha.ernet.in.

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