Indicating a greater role of the private sector in the field of nuclear energy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there was a need to tap additional sources of investments for the ambitious expansion programme.
"We would need to tap additional sources of investments for our ambitious expansion programme," Modi said in an interaction with scientists during his first visit to the Department of Atomic Energy.
He hoped the role of the industry in providing equipment and systems for the nuclear programme would continue to grow and recognised that adequate incentive structure should exist to facilitate that.
The prime minister asked the atomic energy establishment to present a human face of India’s capabilities in nuclear science to the world and extolled its success achieved despite years of international technology denial.
He asked the Department of Atomic Energy to make special efforts to expand its research and extend on a national scale applications of atomic science in areas like healthcare, waste management, water treatment, agriculture and food preservation.
Modi was briefed by R K Sinha, Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, and other top officials and scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre on India's atomic energy programme, an official press release said.
He was also told about DAE's extensive research and development and education programmes and its contributions in varied areas such as healthcare, especially cancer treatment, food security, solid waste management and water purification.
Modi reaffirmed his belief that energy security, which was increasingly based on clean and reliable sources, was the critical driver of India's rapid and sustained long-term development. He saw an essential role for nuclear energy in India's energy strategy, given the scale of demand.
He assured the DAE of his full support in the implementation of its ambitious expansion programme and expressed hope that it would meet the target of increasing the capacity by three times from the present level of 5780 MW by 2023-24 within the projected cost.
Underlining the importance of ensuring that nuclear energy remained commercially viable and competitive with other sources of clean energy in the long run, he also asked DAE to continually upgrade technology both with regard to long-term plans and international trends. DAE, he said, must also plan for ensuring adequate availability of skilled human resources in the country.
Stressing that nuclear safety and security were of the highest priority for him, the Prime Minister asked DAE to ensure that the country's standards and practices were the most advanced in the world. He also asked DAE to pay special attention to local communities in planning and implementing nuclear power projects.
National Security Adviser Ajit Doval also accompanied the prime minister.