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India's nuclear energy programme poised for a major expansion Print E-mail
Written by Anand   
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
New Delhi: Poised for a major expansion, India’s nuclear energy programme will create huge opportunities for participation for the global nuclear industry.

"In our country, we see nuclear energy as a vital component of our global energy mix. The vast energy potential of the three stage programme allows us really to think big," said Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh while inaugurating a three-day International Conference on ‘Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy-2009.

Dr. Singh further said that the first stage of our three-stages Nuclear Power Programme based on the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors and associated fuel cycle facilities, has now reached a level of maturity. The second stage envisages setting up of Fast Breeder Reactors (FBRs) backed by reprocessing plants and plutonium-based fuel fabrication plants. With the construction of the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalpakkam we have entered the second stage of the programme. A facility for reprocessing thorium fuel has been set up. An Advanced Heavy Water Reactor has been designed and its construction will be launched in the near future. This will expedite the transition to thorium-based systems that will mark the third stage of the programme.

"If we can manage our programme well, our three stage strategy could yield potentially 470,000 MW of power by the year 2050. This will sharply reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and will be a major contribution to global efforts to combat climate change," he said.

International projects and cooperation


India is a participant in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, or ITER Project.

"We are ready to contribute to global research and development into new proliferation-resistant fuel cycles. There are proposals for an international fuel bank and we would support efforts in this direction as a supplier nation," said Dr. Manmohan Singh.

He said that nuclear safety was a critical area of cooperation and that technology and management of nuclear safety must be continuously improved.

"The peaceful uses of nuclear energy are not just about power. There are promising applications in the areas of agriculture, food production and preservation, medicine and water desalination. I see a growing role for nuclear energy in these areas in the coming decades," he said.

Dr. ElBaradei, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency recalled the contribution of Dr. Homi Bhabha, as President of first International Conference on peaceful uses of atomic energy held in Geneva in 1955 . He mentioned that despite global recession, the nuclear energy has recorded a sustained growth. He added that Asia remained the focus of growth in the field of nuclear power. Elaborating the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, Dr. ElBaradei said that the nuclear radiation is being utilized for treatment of diseases like cancer and it has tremendous potential for developing techniques for enhancing the yield of various crops in agricultural field. He appreciated India’s major role in the field of nuclear disarmament. The nuclear energy has a potential of generating power on a large scale which may be able to face the challenge of energy deficit in the world.

Speaking about the global non-proliferation regime, Dr. Singh said ",  Global non-proliferation, to be successful, should be universal, comprehensive and non-discriminatory and linked to the goal of complete nuclear disarmament. We believe that there is growing international acceptance for this viewpoint."

Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy and Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, Prof. P. Rama Rao, President Indian Nuclear Society and Dr. S. Banerjee, Director, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre also addressed the inaugural session.

Birth centenary of Dr. Homi Bhabha

The Conference commemorates the birth centenary of Dr. Homi Bhabha. Dr. Bhabha laid the foundation of India's nuclear programme by enunciating the three stage nuclear power programme based on a closed nuclear fuel cycle.

Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Finance Minister of India, released Bhabha Centenary Commemorative Coins on this occasion. Mentioning Dr. Bhabha as architect of Indian Nuclear Progrramme , Shri Mukherjee said that the National and International recognition being achieved by Indian nuclear scientists was due to the conceptualization and vision of Dr. Homi Bhabha about the nuclear energy.

 
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