Feb 6, 2009

India - “Uranium holds key to energy security”

KOLKATA: Theoretically, India should set up 40,000-mega watt reactors by 2020 to meet its energy requirements and become energy-independent by 2050, Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar said on Thursday.
Even after the most optimum use of energy resources including the available thorium and uranium reserves, “we will face an energy deficit of 400 giga watts by 2050.” One giga watt is 1,000 MW.
Dr. Kakodkar was addressing an interactive session on “Perspectives on Evolving Nuclear Power Programme” organised by the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce here. Energy value
Emphasising the importance of uranium import, he said: “Importing uranium has specific advantages … spent uranium has much larger energy value … it will be the source of energy that will multiply to breach the energy deficit gap in the coming years.”
Importing uranium under the international civil nuclear programme would not compromise the country’s autonomy in nuclear programmes.
“The international civil nuclear programme will be pursued without any compromise on domestic autonomy and on the pursuit of usage of nuclear energy for whatever purpose.”
Dr. Kakodkar also laid stress on the importance of thorium in the three-stage nuclear programme being pursued by the country’s scientists.
“We have one of the largest thorium resources in the world that can be used in the three-stage programme … a 300-MW thorium reactor will come up very soon … the objective of the programme is to reach a stage when the country can make full use of its thorium resources.”
Admitting that there were delays in operationalising uranium mines, Dr. Kakodkar said exploration was on and new mines were expected to start functioning soon in Karnataka and Meghalaya.

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