Kolkata, Sep 17: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said nuclear energy was essential to meet the country's power requirement and it was impossible to avoid the issue.
''It is a controversial issue but we can not avoid the importance of nuclear energy in India...it is the only alternative,'' he said while speaking at the National Council meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
While observing that the country should switch on to alternative energy resources to cater to the growing demand for power, Mr Bhattacharjee, however, said it was up to the scientists to come to a consensus on the issue.
''There are many issues, including environment and pricing that have to be taken into account before coming to a decision. Since lots of debates are going on over this topic, we have decided not to take any decision now in the state. Let the scientists come to a consensus,'' he said.
Mr Bhattacharjee's comments came at a time when the Left parties were embroiled in a bitter tussle with the UPA Government at the Centre opposing the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Stressing that 'green power' was needed, Mr Bhattacharjee said the West Bengal government was slowly progressing on this front.
Criticising the role of a section of environmentalists, who were opposed to setting up of nuclear energy plants, the Chief Minister said they were acting like fundamentalists.
About 96 per cent of the power requirement in West Bengal was generated in thermal power plants, he said.