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Home > News > PTI

Nuclear power an inevitable option: Kakodkar

Lalitha Vaidyanathan in Vienna | September 18, 2007 20:56 IST

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Making a strong pitch for international nuclear energy cooperation with India, Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar on Tuesday made it clear that nuclear power was an 'inevitable option' and pressed for 're-formation' of global thinking on it.

"There is a need for reformation of global thinking that is necessary and consensus on closed fuel cycle has to be reached by those going to participate in the future nuclear renaissance," Kakodkar said.

He was speaking at the scientific forum, an integral part of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency being attended by more than 500 participants.     

"The world has to move forward with nuclear power as an inevitable option based purely on partnership on objective, reliable and predictable basis with holistic mutual understanding and trust as a pre-requisite," he said.

Kakodkar's carefully-worded comments come amidst a raging political debate on the Indo-US nuclear deal in India with Left parties and the opposition closely watching his approach at the IAEA.

The Left parties have warned the UPA government of a 'political crisis' if it went ahead with operationalising the deal. An India-specific safeguards agreement and change in guidelines of the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group are required to put the deal into force.

Kakodkar favoured a closed fuel cycle to reduce the risk of proliferation of fissile material, a proposal backed by several countries.

Currently, the spent fuel from atomic power plants is stocked in high security facilities. This fuel can be reprocessed to extract plutonium, which can be used to create nuclear weapons.

"We cannot put future security at risk through the once-through cycle," he said.

The one time use of uranium fuel should not promoted as it is important for the world to make use of the spent fuel to maximise energy production and minimise radioactive waste, he contended.

Kakodkar also emphasised that in order to meet the huge energy demands of the world community it was important to have inclusive partnership and make sure that those countries, which are keen to develop nuclear power for the first time should have basic minimum infrastructure and human resource needed for it.

"This will ensure that no uncertainty remains," he said.

The AEC chief drove home the point that there was need for institutional approach in IAEA programmes.

"We need to develop models not based on supplier/recipient basis but on the partnership basis to promote a healthy multi-country cooperation. Although IAEA has been making some efforts in this direction, it has not progressed much. IAEA needs to be backed up by additional institutional back up," he said.     

"For making the option for closed fuel cycle, there has to be a national policy and India has from the beginning opted for this and we call spent fuel a resource and not waste," he added.

US Assistant Secretary for nuclear energy Dennis R Spurgeon elaborated on how the American scientists are working on various technologies to make use of the spent fuel effectively creating minimum radioactive waste.      

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