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No compromise on strategic programme: Kakodkar

Raktima Bose

Nuclear energy can make a paradigm change for the better

KHARAGPUR: Access to additional uranium, along with the quantity already available, to proceed with the nuclear electricity generation plan, will in no way compromise the country'ss strategic programme, Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar said on Friday.

"There is no doubt that we would pursue the three-stage development of our vast energy potential in our thorium resources on high priority. Nuclear energy, with its several million-fold calorific value and negligible greenhouse emissions, can make a paradigm change for the better."

He was addressing the 54th convocation of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.

Dr. Kakodkar said India had emerged as a self-reliant technological power following five decades of domestic research and development, and was capable of pursuing an autonomous path despite the existing embargo.

"Even a back-of-the-envelope assessment would reveal that the electricity demand-supply gap would progressively widen over the next few decades in spite of best efforts to deploy all available indigenous energy resources, including nuclear."

Dr. Kakodkar, who is also Secretary to the Department of Atomic Energy, pointed out that fast breeder reactors produced more fuel than what they consumed. This would enable growth of the electricity generation capacity in the future, without the need for additional fuel.

IIT Bhubaneswar begins

Meanwhile, the formal functioning of the IIT Bhubaneswar, one of the six new institutes in the country, began on Friday. "Since the infrastructure is not ready in Bhubaneswar, all 104 students would attend classes in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering on the Kharagpur campus now," said IIT Kharagpur Director Damodar Acharya.

Prof. Acharya said 30 additional professors had been recruited for the IIT, Bhubaneswar, whose academic year would start in August.

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