2013 saw successful launch of Mars Orbiter Mission

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SummaryThe successful launch of Mars Orbiter Mission and power generation from Kudankulam nuclear power plant were some of the major achievements in the field of space and atomic energy in 2013.

The successful launch of Mars Orbiter Mission and power generation from Kudankulam nuclear power plant were some of the major achievements in the field of space and atomic energy in 2013.

ISRO, which comes under the Department of Space (DoS), achieved a major feat by launching the Mars Mission in November, an exercise undertaken only by a handful countries.

Launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, the MOM on December 4 escaped earth's sphere of influence and is now on a course to encounter Mars after a journey of about 300 days.

The Rs 450-crore project would provide the scientific community better opportunities in planetary research.

Apart from it, ISRO also launched oceanographic satellite SARAL, a joint Indo-French Satellite programme, advanced weather satellite INSAT-3D, advanced multi-band communication satellite, GSAT-7.

However, a major setback for ISRO was calling off the launch of GSLV-D5 after a leak was observed in the UH25 fuel system of the liquid second stage just two hours before the scheduled lift-off.

ISRO was criticised by many in the scientific community in India and abroad for prioritising MOM over GSLV-D5.

The Department of Atomic Energy's pursuit in generating nuclear power got a boost when the first unit of Kudankulam plant started generating power in October. The 1000 MW unit 1 of KKNPP is currently the largest nuclear power generation plant in the country.

On the other hand, agreement between Russia and India for building units 3 and 4 for Kudankulam plant could not be signed after Russia raised objections over the liability issue.

The liability clause of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages (CLND) Act 2010 proved to be a major hurdle with foreign collaborators raising concerns over it.

During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to US in September, an Early Works Agreement was also signed between US company Westinghouse Electric and DAE in order to push forward the Mithi Virdhi nuclear power plant project in Gujarat in which the company will provide AP-1000 reactors.

Hectic negotiations between French company Areva and DAE over the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant project also hit hurdles with both parties disagreeing over the some clauses in the CLND Act 2010.

The civil nuclear cooperation deal signed between India and Canada also came into force in September.

However, despite several rounds of negotiations with Japan and Australia on cooperation in the field of civil nuclear technology, an agreement could not be signed with these countries.

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