labels: power, oct_2001
India cannot shy away from nuclear power: Prime minister news
01 September 2007

Within 24 hours of having brokered a truce on the issue of nuclear cooperation with the US with the recalcitrant Left Front that provides outside support to the government, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said India could not afford to miss the nuclear bus.

Speaking at the dedication ceremony of the two high-efficiency nuclear reactors at the Nuclear Power Corporation of India''s Tarapore facility on 31 August, Dr Singh presented a strong case for nuclear cooperation to ensue India''s energy security.

Saying that India was now too important a country to remain outside the international mainstream in the area of nuclear energy, Dr Singh did not shy away from mentioning the need for IAEA safeguards in order to begin negotiations with 45-nation nuclear suppliers group.

''''There is a talk the world over of a nuclear renaissance and we cannot afford to miss the bus or lag behind these global developments,'''' the PM said. Coincidentally it was from Tarapore where India''s quest for nuclear energy first started.

He also said that India would not be dependent on one country but buy nuclear technology from US, Russia, France and Japan. But international cooperation could not take place with the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) till the India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were finalized, he pointed out.

''''Once these steps are taken, India can commence civil nuclear cooperation with all the 45 members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. This will signal the end of our international isolation of the past few decades,'''' he added.

India has set a modest target of 20,000 MW of nuclear power generation by the year 2020. The PM said this could be doubled with the opening up of international cooperation. (For full text of the speech see: PM dedicates two reactors to the nation at Tarapur Atomic Power Plant)

Speaking separately at the graduation function of the 50th batch of the BARC Training School, Dr Singh said, the strength of the institution was its faculty of professionals and "This synergy between in-house research and development and its applications has contributed to our technological capacity to, for example, build and operate indigenously designed nuclear power plants."

"I am told that the design of an advanced heavy water reactor is ready, and that BARC is also working on several-advanced reactor designs, including the development of a high temperature reactor, which would enable generation of hydrogen from nuclear energy.

"The Government stands fully committed to strengthening the autonomy of our nuclear R&D programme. Our unique three-stage programme, which is predicated on the need to utilise our vast thorium deposits, is a logical response to the needs of our economy. We should expedite progress in the setting up of fast breeder reactors, after having successfully implemented the pressurised heavy water reactor programme. (For full text of the speech at the BARC Training School: Nuclear autonomy will be preserved)

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India cannot shy away from nuclear power: Prime minister