Dr. Balasubramanian Venkatraman post-graduated in Physics from St. Joseph College (Autonomous), Tiruchirapalli and Ph.D in Madras University. He joined the 27th Batch of BARC Training School at Mumbai and on successful completion, joined the Radio Metallurgy Laboratory, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam in 1984. With a research career spanning 37 years, he has combined the physics of Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) with engineering and technology and consistently provided excellent R & D support and robust NDE-based solutions to technologically challenging problems in the nuclear and other strategic and core industries. His significant milestone activities for the nuclear industry include - Procedures for X-ray and neutron radiography of highly irradiated fuel pins, comprehensive NDE for evaluation of tube to tube sheet welds of PFBR steam generator and radiometric testing of shielding structures. He has been primarily responsible for establishing the conventional and digital X-ray, neutron radiography and thermal imaging facilities at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam. He was part of the DAE team to review the QA aspects of KKNPP-1&2. For the strategic industries, the significant activities in which he had been associated include standardizing multi NDE techniques for evaluation and life extension of tail rotor blades of Mi-8 and Mi-17 defence helicopters, training of over 100 IAF personnel in NDE and review of QA, welding procedures and NDE methods during fabrication of rocket motor casing using DMR 1700 alloy. His expertise had also been utilised by Indian Space Research organization (ISRO) for solving challenging NDE problems pertaining to the initial PSLV and GSLV, qualification of Ti-6Al-4V alloy satellite gas bottles, and earth sensors of INSAT. He developed the Neutron radiography procedure for examination of pyro devices using KAMINI reactor. As a physicist, he has focussed on applied R & D in the area of NDE for materials evaluation and characterisation and related to radiation sciences and technology and infrared thermography. He has pioneered the application of IR thermography for deformation studies, online weld monitoring and early detection of breast cancer.
One of the unique applications of Dr Venkatraman's science and technology knowledge base has been the successful application of NDE methodologies and techniques for art, archeology and national heritage. He had been instrumental in the development and application of conventional and advanced NDE methods based on radiography and X-ray fluorescence for the characterisation and fingerprinting of ancient South Indian Bronzes. Dr Venkatraman also made an in depth study into the ancient method of lost-wax process used for casting such bronzes. The expertise and experience thus gained was successfully applied during the fabrication of the tallest Nataraja in the world which was gifted by DAE to CERN in June 2004. Recently he was part of the investigation team in Tamil Nadu for identification of fake icons, had also been invited by Mysore Palace authorities to investigate the gold leaf paintings and by ASI for evaluation of the Kalasams of Brihadeeswara Temple, Thanjavur.
Dr Venkatraman is the recipient of the DAE Homi Bhabha Science and Technology Award 2007 for Individual Excellence, Group Achievement Awards of DAE during 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016 INS Gold Medal 2005, ISNT-NDT Man of the Year Award ( R & D) 2001, D & H Schereon Award, 1993, IIW Sharp Tools Award 2011, ISNT international recognition 2013, and has won more than 10 best paper awards. He has been invited to deliver many keynote/plenary/invited talks in national and international seminars including Asian Pacific Conference on NDT. He was a visiting scientist at Fraunhofer Institute of NDT Saarbrucken during 2006-2007.
He is Honorary Fellow of the Indian Society for Non-Destructive Testing, Fellow, Chennai Academy of Sciences, Executive Board Member, Asian Pacific Federation of NDT, Past President, 14th Asian Pacific Conference on NDT, Past Chairman, Quantitative Infrared Thermography Asian Subcommittee, President, Indian Society for Non-Destructive Testing, President, Indian Association for Radiation Protection, President American Society for NDT(ASNT) India Section. He has over 300 publications in Journals and Conferences including two articles in Encyclopedia of Material Science, two monographs, three books and is the series editor along with Dr Baldev Raj for the NDT handbooks published by NCB-ISNT .
He is presently a Distinguished Scientist and Director, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, Director, General Services organization , Kalpakkam and Chairman and Managing Director (In charge), Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam (BHAVINI). He is also a Senior Professor in HBNI and has guided 5 students for their PhD and is presently guiding 3 students.
Dr Venkatraman has been conferred the Degree of Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa , in recognition of his outstanding contributions in Nuclear Science and Technology, by Vel Tech Rangarajan Dr. Sagunthala R&D Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai.