Deficiency in the country is 50,000-60,000 MW

Despite apprehensions expressed by some members of the Rajya Sabha, the government on Thursday stressed the priority it accords to nuclear power projects, including at Kundankulam in Tamil Nadu, saying nuclear energy was “clean and safe” and that many countries were relying on it.

“Unless we develop nuclear energy, we will not be able to meet the deficiency of 50,000-60,000 MW in the country. Coal energy is not clean and the quantum of wind and solar energy is negligible. We require nuclear energy, which is clean and safe, to supplement coal energy,'' Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V. Narayanasamy said during question hour.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who holds the portfolio of Atomic Energy, was present.

Responding to a supplementary why the government was pursuing nuclear energy when other countries were abandoning it, the Minister said France, the United States and Russia had produced nuclear power in a big way, while China recently signed an agreement with Pakistan to support its programme. Japan and South Korea were also producing nuclear energy to meet their growing demand

Kudankulam agitation

Replying to a question about the public agitation against the commissioning of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, Mr. Narayanasamy said the project was located on barren land. Therefore, the question of uprooting people from there did not arise.

“The agitation by a section of people started about three months ago, due to safety apprehensions following the Fukushima (Japan) incident, and campaigns by groups ideologically opposed to nuclear power.'' Efforts to enhance “public outreach and communication” were continuing.

Asked whether the government was considering any fuel switch to allay apprehensions of the local population, he replied in the negative.

On addressing developmental needs in the vicinity of nuclear or thermal projects, Mr. Narayanasamy said the government had a “corporate social responsibility” towards people. “As far as the Kundankulam plant is concerned, we have built roads, school and hospital.”

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