Sooner the nuclear deal is signed, the better: Kakodkar (Lead)

July 5th, 2008 - 12:16 am ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, India, July 4 (IANS) Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar Friday strongly supported the India-US civilian nuclear deal and said the sooner the agreement was signed, the better it was for the country. “The sooner we sign the nuclear deal with the US, the better for us. The sooner we go to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) for the safeguards agreement, the better for wrapping up the deal early,” Kakodkar told IANS here.

Declining to comment on the ongoing political crisis over the nuclear deal, the top nuclear scientist stressed that as there was a shortage of uranium to operate the reactors fully, there was an urgent need to get the supplies from outside.

“If we can get it (uranium) from outside, it is much better. Due to mismatch between supply and requirement, the reactors are presently operating at 50-55 percent of full capacity as against 70-80 percent earlier,” Kakodkar said on the sidelines of a public lecture on ‘Development of nuclear energy in India: Rationale and perspectives’.

Admitting that the country has known uranium reserves to generate up to 10,000 MW of nuclear-generated power, Kakodkar said that to meet the growing power needs of the country, it was imperative to expand the generating capacity, and nuclear energy was the best alternative.

“History will not forgive us if we don’t harness nuclear source and its technology. We need to bridge the energy security gap. Even if we are able to generate about 10,000 MW by 2020, it will not be sufficient to meet the energy deficit at the rate the economy is growing,” Kakodkar pointed out.

Earlier, addressing a galaxy of top scientists and technocrats, Kakodkar said access to global energy sources would become increasingly difficult and expensive in the years ahead.

“Early availability of domestic and imported uranium and reactors is important for reducing our dependence on import of energy resources in the future,” the secretary to the department of atomic energy noted.

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