July 27, 2008

Indian Official Pitches for Nuclear Energy to Tackle Climate Change Impact

Text of report by Indian news agency PTI

New Delhi, 26 July: With the India-US civilian nuclear energy initiative back on track after the recent trust vote in Parliament, the government's key negotiator on Climate Change Shyam Saran Saturday [26 July] pinned hope that "clean energy" would help tackle climate change threats.

Speaking at a seminar on "Climate change: Will India's growth story confront new constraints?" he said, "We may look forward to a major expansion in nuclear power generation in the period upto 2030- 31," to meet growing energy needs.

The prime minister's special envoy on climate change, while linking energy security with the issue of global warming, said that keeping in mind growing need for energy for various projects, power generation must rise from current level of about 1,6000 megawatts to about 8,00,000 megawatts in 2030-31.

"According to report of the Expert Committee on Integrated Energy Policy, India's energy requirements will rise dramatically the current period to 2030-31.

"Meeting this level of energy requirement necessitates the pursuit of all available fuel options and forms of energy," Saran said while pitching for nuclear energy as an alternative source.

"Nuclear energy contributes only 1.5 per cent towards our total energy mix but is expected to go up to 6.3 per cent in 2030-31, but only if nuclear commerce with the rest of the world can be resumed and if India is enabled to import both nuclear reactors and uranium fuel," he added.

He was of the view that even if there was no threat of climate change, considerations of energy security alone would suggest a medium to long-term strategy of moving away from reliance on fossil fuels to non-fossil fuels.

"And this shift, would, as a beneficial consequence, bring about major climate change gains as well, both for India as well for the world," Saran said.

Originally published by PTI news agency, New Delhi, in English 1807 26 Jul 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring South Asia. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.