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Bush to discuss civilian nuclear power programme for India during visit
Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | February 21, 2006 17:59 IST
President George W Bush has said he will discuss about a civilian nuclear power programme for India during his visit to the country early March.
"I'm going to India on March 1. I'm going to talk about a civilian nuclear power programme for India," Bush said in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Monday during a two-day swing inside the country that would also take him to Michigan and Colorado.
He also pitched for building nuclear plants in the US as an alternative energy resource to end the country from being "held hostage" by foreign oil.
"Some of the nations we rely on for oil have unstable governments or have fundamental differences with the United States. These countries know we need their oil and that reduces influence. It creates a national security issue when we're held hostage for energy by foreign nations that may not like us," he said without naming any particular country.
"Today there are more than 100 nuclear plants in America that operate in 31 states, including right here in Wisconsin. The plants are producing electricity safely, and they don't emit any air pollution or greenhouse gases," he said.
"America hasn't ordered a nuclear plant since the 1970s, and that's the result of litigation -- or because of litigation -- and complex regulations," he said. "I think we ought to start building nuclear power plants again. I think it makes sense to do so. Technology is such that we can do so and say to the American people, these are safe -- and they're important," Bush said.
Bush also pointed out that France has built 58 nuclear plants since the 1970s and was getting nearly 80 per cent of their electricity from nuclear power.
"I know it came as a shock to some to hear a Texan stand up there in front of the country and say, "We got a real problem. America is addicted to oil," Bush said, in a reference to his home state Texas, which is home to many oil firms.
"But I meant it because it's a true fact and we've got to do something about it now," the president remarked.
The Bush White House has taken a bad hit with rising gasoline prices and is worried about the impact of high gasoline and energy bills at the time of the November Congressional elections.
Democrats on US Congress have been consistently making the point that they are willing to work with the president on alternative energy sources, but will not allow the oil industry to write the agenda.
"We need more than just rhetoric from a president who let Big Oil write our energy policies," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said.