New Delhi: With the aim of securing its future energy needs through nuclear power, India has decided to join the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project. The Union Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by the Indian prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, also sanctioned Rs2,500 crore to further the initiative. The foreign exchange component of the project is Rs1,129 crore.
The Cabinet also approved the setting up of an empowered board by the Governing Council of the Institute for Plasma Research for the project's implementation, according to Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, information and broadcasting minister, who spoke to the media.
The ITER project is trying to develop a fusion reactor, based on the 'Tokamak' concept. The project's mission is to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy as a power source. Fusion energy is generated when two nuclei are fused together, and differs from the current nuclear power energy plants, which are based on the fission process, in which an atom is split to release energy.
"India's joining ITER is a recognition of its scientific and technical capability in fusion energy. Considering India's large energy needs in the future, our gaining technological capability in fusion energy will be of considerable long-term benefit," Dasmunshi said.