Germany okay with N-ties

Germany okay with N-ties

Merkel offers help in nuke safety, but prefers focus on renewable energy

Germany okay with N-ties

The visiting German leader’s offer came as New Delhi remains firm on going ahead with its ambitious plan to generate 20,000 MW of nuclear power by 2020. The Chancellor arrived here on Tuesday on a state visit to launch the first Indo-German inter-governmental negotiations. Merkel said the German side will ensure that the safety standards of India’s nuclear power plants are not only very good but it will also champion New Delhi’s cause at the international level.

However, in line with her government’s decision to explore renewable energy at home, Merkel also pledged support for India’s search for rene­wable energy alternatives. “I think there is still a lot of scope for further cooperation, particularly in the area of renewable energy,” Merkel said here during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

On his part, Singh stressed that India needed nuclear power to meet its growing energy demand and to adhere to its self-imposed obligations to cut emission in response to climate change.

“Nuclear energy today accounts for only about 3 per cent of total energy generated in our system. “As of now, our capacity is less than 5,000 MW. We want to raise it to about 20,000 MW by the year 2020. Thereafter there are some projections but no firm decisions have been taken,” he said. “One thing which is quite clear is that if India is to meet its emission targets, then nuclear energy along with renewable sources of energy is a combination which we need.

“We will make every effort to ensure that safety norms in generation and utilisation of nuclear power are world class, but we must have the option to make use of the nuclear energy, together with the heavy reliance on coal, which is inevitable for quite sometime to come in our country,” Singh added.

Berlin in September 2008 had backed New Delhi’s move to secure a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group to pave the way for Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

The waiver ended India’s more than three-decade-long isolation from the nuclear world, making it possible for New Delhi to enter into similar deals with other countries and set for itself the target to boost its own nuke energy generation capacity.
During his visit to Berlin in December 2010, Singh said India valued Germany’s support in NSG “for the opening of international commerce for India.” Merkel, too, had indicated her country could work together with India on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. But after the crisis in Japan’s tsunami-hit Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Germany was forced to drop its plan to explore civil nuclear cooperation with India.
“Building up a very broad-based energy mix with renewables here in India is a policy where we can obviously support you all along the way. I think what will be very important is to see to it that renewable energies can supply the base load for the grid and that put together with biomass and wind energy one can come to very good results,” Merkel said.