Nuclear electricity has potential to meet India’s increasing energy demand: Vice President

NEW DELHI : Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu Thursday said nuclear electricity could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and has the potential to meet the increasing energy demand in the country.

Addressing scientists and staff of Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) here on the occasion of 70 years of exploration and research by the organisation, he said climate change was one of the foremost environmental concerns today.

Stating that the need of the hour was to ensure modern technologies were safer and reliable, he said nuclear power was one of the reliable and safe energy options and commended India’s record of operating its nuclear fleet for over 40 years without any serious incident.

“Nuclear electricity is generated through very low carbon emitting technologies and can significantly reduce emission of greenhouse gases,” he added.

The Vice President said it has the potential to meet the ever-increasing demands of energy in the country, especially at a time “when we as a nation are making attempts to move beyond the polluting fossil fuels.”

“Considering the steep demand for power in the country, role of nuclear energy in future would be quite significant and we need to develop new and more efficient technologies to utilise our resources to the maximum,” he said.

Naidu said India’s abiding interest in nuclear energy grew out of a deep conviction that the power of atom could be harnessed to help the country achieve human and societal development.

He said India has consciously made a strategic choice to pursue a low-carbon growth model in the coming decades and added reducing pollution was a major challenge

Appreciating the efforts of AMD in adopting state-of-the-art exploration techniques in search of different strategic minerals, the Vice President said it was heartening to know about the availability of more than three lakh tonnes of uranium oxide reserves and around 1,200 million tonnes of beach sand mineral resources in the country.

“More significantly, the quantum leap in uranium resource augmentation by AMD from around one lakh tonnes during first 60 years of activities and a subsequent addition of around two lakh tonnes in the next 10 years is really commendable,” he added.

Naidu also expressed confidence that exploration efforts of AMD in different parts of the country, including Cuddapah Basin would lead to more uranium mines.

“I am also informed that to cater to the needs of the Rare Metals in Nuclear Power Programme of India and to meet the growing requirement of Rare Earth Elements (REE), AMD is carrying out exploitation of rare metals like Niobium, Tantalum, Lithium and Beryllium and exploration for rare earth resources, based on indigenous technology and expertise,” he said.

He said with several favourable geological domains spread across the length and breadth of the country which can host potential uranium, rare metals and REE deposits, it would be possible to achieve self-sufficiency in atomic mineral resources for sustainable growth of our nuclear power programme.

“I am sure that huge beach sand mineral resources, potential hard rock, inland rare metal and REE resources are likely to contribute in the indigenous growth of Indian industries under the aegis of “Make in India,” Naidu added.