New Delhi, Oct 14: With India witnessing a 25 per cent energy shortages in some regions and creating an impediment to economic growth, nuclear energy is the best alternative to cope with the current crisis, an industry chamber said here today.
Industry chamber PHDCCI said with an estimated electricity-GDP elasticity of 0.95, the electricity sector has to grow by about 10 per cent to keep pace with the growth of GDP.
''It is in this context that the option of exploring the use of nuclear energy, which promises to be an economically viable and environment friendly alternative, assumes special significance,'' industry body PHDCCI President Sanjay Bhatia said.
India is experiencing peak and average energy shortages of about 13 per cent and 10 per cent respectively and during peak demand the deficit rises to 25 per cent in some regions. Shortages of this magnitude certainly are an impediment in sustaining economic growth, he said.
The foremost advantage of using nuclear energy lies in its ability to effectively supplement the energy demand. India's crude oil and petroleum imports consume one-third of the country's entire export earnings, thereby elbowing out or reducing the purchase of many other vital products, the chamber claimed.
India's coal reserves are expected to run out in a few decades. Environment-friendly energy sources, such as the sun and wind, are potentially important but the technology for large-scale production still eludes.
''Under the circumstances it is imperative for India to plan our energy alternatives that will not destroy our environment. Nuclear energy fits that description,'' Mr Bhatia added.
Nuclear energy is a cost effective source of energy. Studies have concluded that the long term costs of nuclear power amount to about one-tenth the costs of coal, the chamber said.
Nuclear power is considered to be environmental friendly. It is likely to make a dent in global carbon dioxide emissions and is recognised as an important and environmentally benign constituent of the overall energy mix.
PHDCCI pointed out that for considering the nuclear option seriously is its safety. The safety record of nuclear power plants has not been spotless - the catastrophe caused by radiation releases at Chernobyl is a grim reminder of this.
Yet, the design of the next generation nuclear plants is supposed to be very different from that of the existing ones.
The latest designs are simpler and safer, faster and cheaper to run, thereby lowering the financial and safety risks of switching over to nuclear power, the chamber added.