Nuclear power to take back seat in Modi government's agenda: PwC

The Narendra Modi government may put on the back-burner the previous UPA government's plan to install 20 gigawatts of nuclear power capacity in the country by 2020, and instead focus on wind and solar to achieve energy security, according to global auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"Nuclear projects are not likely to be on the radar of the Modi government, at least for the next two years. It will first focus on increasing coal production, allocation and pricing, apart from clearing the balance sheets of distribution companies," Pricewaterhouse India's executive director for energy utilities Sambitosh Mohapatra told PTI.

The Modi government may focus on increasing wind and solar power capacity especially as these models worked successfully in Gujarat, Mohapatra said.

The power, coal, and new and renewable energy portfolios have been combined in the hands of Piyush Goyal - who is from Maharashtra, where a controversial 9,900 MW nuclear project is coming up at Jaitapur in the ecologically sensitive Ghats.

Nuclear power was a pet project of previous Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had set a target of installing 20 GW of nuclear power capacity by 2020 and 63 GW by 2032.

In its election manifesto, the BJP promised to take steps to maximise the potential of power sources like oil, gas, hydroelectricity, ocean, wind, coal and nuclear.

The party said it considers energy efficiency and conservation crucial to energy security. It also promised to expand and strengthen the national solar mission and come out with a responsible and comprehensive national energy policy.

The new government may reserve its policy decisions on nuclear energy as it had opposed certain measures taken by the UPA government, especially the Nuclear Liability Act.