New Delhi: After leading India's nuclear programme, top scientist Srikumar Banerjee plans to actively reach out to the people to share the benefits of atomic power and its safety record.

Atomic scientists, including Banerjee, have admitted that they had failed on the public outreach on the safety issues which led to the eight-month stand-off on the Kudankulam nuclear power project.

Known as an excellent communicator, Banerjee who retired as Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission on Monday said he would take part in popularising nuclear energy amongst the people besides pursuing research in his chosen areas.

"Definitely, I will participate more in public outreach," a relaxed Banerjee said from Mumbai.

Talking about the Kudankulam project, which was stalled by protests, he said, "We produced 32 million units of nuclear power in 2011-12. We would have done better had the Kudankulam project been commissioned."

Currently, India operates 19 nuclear power plants, most of them designed and developed indigenously, which have an installed capacity of 4680 MW.

Asked about the highlights of his stint at the helm, Banerjee, who served for 45 years in the DAE, listed putting in place a new legislative framework for pursuing civil nuclear power as a key achievement.

"We have the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act in place and the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill is also before Parliament. These are the key achievements," he said.

The new legislative framework was required after India's was allowed re-entry into international nuclear markets with the Nuclear Supplier Group granting New Delhi a waiver from its guidelines.

Much of the spadework for India's re-entry into global nuclear commerce was done by Banerjee's predecessor Anil Kakodkar.

Banerjee counts his six years as Director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and two-and-a-half years as Chairman Atomic Energy Commission as "most rewarding".

He said the past couple of years have seen records in fuel fabrication for the 19 operating reactors and heavy water production.

A metallurgist by training, Banerjee would take up research in his area of interest which include nuclear fuels and write some monographs on selected topics.

On the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, he said that the project was awaiting clearances from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board before fuel is loaded for starting the plant.

The first 1000 MW unit of the plant is likely to be commissioned within the next two months which would be followed by the second unit of similar capacity.

(Agencies)