No compromise on nuke programme: Chavan

He said the country looked forward to “expand our nuclear energy programme with imported fuel and large imported reactors” in the wake of the Indo-US nuclear deal.
However, “there will be no compromise with our commitment to our three-stage nuclear programme, to our own research and to our own technology,” the minister clarified.
Chavan was presiding over the silver jubilee of the Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) here.

The minister said the 500-MW prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) under construction at Kalpakkam, on the basis of the experience gained from FBTR, “itself signifies our success in the fast reactor programme”.

Climate issue
In the context of climate change concerns to reduce carbon emissions, Chavan said fast nuclear reactors were essential for the country’s energy security.

He said India has always taken the principled stand that “irradiated fuel should not be disposed as radioactive waste and that closing the fuel cycle through fuel reprocessing is absolutely essential for ensuring the sustainability of our nuclear energy programme.”
Several leading nuclear scientists and experts including Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Sukumar Banerjee, IGCAR Director Baldev Raj, P K  Iyengar and former chairmen like R Chidambaram and M R Srinivasan, were present on the occasion.

Private players
Later, talking to the media, Chavan ruled out the Centre allowing private players in atomic energy field. “It is a very complex technology and the UPA’s stand is clear that the new reactors coming in should also be operated by a public company like Nuclear Power Corporation,” he said.

By the year 2030, India planned to add 40,000 MW of additional power from nuclear energy sources, Chavan said.

Hoping that the first 500 MW PFBR unit at Kalpakkam would go on stream by 2011-12, Chavan to another question did not rule out the possibility of India looking to acquire uranium mines abroad, if the ONGC Videdsh model to buy gas fields abroad worked out successfully.

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