Govt should seek political consensus on nuke deal: Srinivasan

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Kochi, Oct 31 (UNI) Former Atomic Energy Commission Chairman M R Srinivasan has said the UPA Government at the Centre should have sought a 'timely' political consensus on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Delivering the Kerala Management Association (KMA) golden jubilee lecture on 'Indo-US Nuclear Agreement and its impact on Indian Economy' here last night, Dr Srinivasan said the Centre should have sought a broad political consensus through a parliamentary debate and discussions much earlier to operationalise the nuke deal with the US, which would have solved the energy problems of the country.

The energy from nuclear power could be supplied at a cheaper rate compared to the conventional sources of energy like coal and non-conventional sources like wind and solar power, he added.

Even though the initial investment would be high, the longevity of the nuclear power station was more and the fuelling cost was much lesser than the thermal power plants, Dr Srinivasan, who is member of the National Security Advisory Board, said.

On certain political parties apprehension on getting 'too close' with the US, Dr Srinivasan said there was a price to be paid to be friendly with the Americans and a price for being unfriendly with them. 'But we should be able to do a balancing act.' There was nothing wrong in maintaining closer ties with the US as they were economically powerful and almost all countries barring a few had good relations with them, he added.

''If we do not move forward with the nuclear deal we will be forced to proceed with thorium-based nuclear reactors, which had a longer gestation period and with that the country's nuclear growth will be much slower,'' he said.

''We will also be denied of other technologies of the advanced countries like developments in electronics and space technology, which were inevitable for the growth of the nation'', he added.

Dr Srinivasan also informed that former Kerala Chief Ministers K Karunakaran and E K Nayanar were keen to develop nuclear power in the State but it did not materialise due to lack of suitable sites.

UNI

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