Thorium based reactors to be ready in a decade

Achieving ‘self sufficiency in energy’ was crucial for a large nation like India, said former president of India, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam here on Saturday. As a step in the direction, India was working towards making Thorium based nuclear power reactors operational within a decade, he said.

Addressing the gathering at JSS College of Arts, Science and Commerce here, he said that India had 17 per cent of the worlds population, but only 0.8 per cent of world’s known oil and natural gas resources.

Energy independence had to be achieved by generating power from renewable energy sources, nuclear energy and bio-fuel for transportation sector, he added.

“The country is generating about 7,000 MW of energy from nuclear power plants. With a number of nuclear reactors nearing completion, we will be able to generate 30,000 MW of energy from nuclear sources by 2020,” he said.

The department of Atomic Energy had drawn a detailed road map for research, which could accelerate the process of establishing Thorium based power plants. Thorium was available in large quantities in the country and with the help of multiple research institutes development of Thorium based fast breeder reactors was likely to be completed soon, he added.

Bio-fuel

Speaking on the economic significance of using bio-fuel for transportation, he said that nearly $ 11 billion US dollars of foreign exchange could be saved by adding 20 per cent ethanol or bio-diesel to the fossil fuel based petrol or diesel. “Simultaneously if we succeed in using emulsified fuel for automobiles, which has 25 per cent water, we will be saving nearly $ 14 billion dollars. With the combined effect of bio-fuel and emulsified fuel, we will be able to save Rs 1,00,000 crore annually,” he added.

Water shortage

By 2025, the world population would rise to eight billion and only one billion of them would have sufficient water. About two billion, would have no access to safe water and five per cent would have no access to sanitation.

Shortage of water, both for drinking and farming purposes, could be met by large-scale sea water desalination and pumping the same inland using solar energy and bio-fuels, he said.

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