‘Because of isolation it suffered, India could not access nuclear technology’
Nuclear energy is said to be cheapest source of power
About one lakh people are required for commissioning a reactor, says former CM
Manipal: Former Chief Minister and All India Congress Committee spokesperson M. Veerappa Moily said on Sunday that the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement was necessary to meet the energy requirements of the country.
He was delivering a lecture on “Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement” at the Model United Nations (MUN), organised by Manipal University here.
Mr. Moily said that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government had signed the agreement to get the country out of the nuclear isolation it suffered since its nuclear tests. Owing to the “nuclear apartheid”, the country was denied state-of-the-art nuclear technology. Indian economy was growing rapidly and it was not possible to meet the energy requirements through either hydro or thermal power, he said.
About 80 per cent of power in France now came from nuclear energy, whereas, about three decades ago, only three per cent of energy requirements of France were met by nuclear energy.
“France took to nuclear energy to get out of the ‘oil shock’ of the 1970s. Today, France has 59 nuclear reactors,” he said.
Stating that nuclear power was relatively a clean source of energy vis-À-vis other sources, he said that the fuel costs of nuclear energy were less.
Although the initial investment for a reactor was high, it could be recovered in three years. A reactor could be commissioned in three to four years.
“Coal reserves in India are low to promote thermal energy even as transportation of coal itself is expensive,” he said. He said that according to an estimate, the commissioning of a nuclear plant would approximately employ one lakh people, including skilled and unskilled workers. Such developmental activities were necessary even to provide employment to young people.
The UPA Government had supported the Indo-U.S. nuclear agreement even at the risk of losing power as it was in the interest of the nation. ”India can sign agreements with other countries to get reactors and fuel. We have achieved this without being a signatory to the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty (CTBT) or nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT),” Mr. Moily said.