Civil nuclear deals to boost Nuclear power prod by 200 p c

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Kochi, Oct 14 (UNI) India's atomic power generation capacity is expected to get a hefty boost of 200 per cent through international civil nuclear cooperation, following the end to its over three-decade isolation, a senior official of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) said today.

Inaugurating the 'Swasraya Bharath-08 National Self Reliance Week Celebrations' here, Mr S K Malhotra, Head, Public Awareness Division, DAE, said the country was earlier targeting a nuclear power production capacity of 20,000 MW by 2020.

However, with the way opening for international civilian nuclear commerce, the country could expect another 30,000 to 40,000 MW of nuclear energy, he added.

Declaring that the civilian nuclear cooperation deals with the US, France or any other country would in no way affect the DAE's independent atomic self-reliance programme, Mr Malhotra said there was no conflict between the two.

''These deals have opened the way for India to do nuclear commerce with other countries. We will be free to decide whom we buy from on the basis of the safest, cheapest and best technology available,'' he added.

Recalling that the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was formed in response to India's 1974 'peaceful nuclear explosion,' Mr Malhotra said it was gratifying that the NSG itself had now given a waiver for nuclear cooperation with it.

Underlining the need for the country to increase its power generation capacity, Mr Malhotra said though the country was the the fifth largest electricity producer in the world, it was ranked below 100 in per capita power consumption.

''We can be called a developed country only when we make the fruits of technology available to the remotest corner of the country and to the bottom-most person,'' he added.

Delivering the presidential address, Mr S Anantha Narayanan, Director, Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) said India was moving towards inter-dependence as a mature country.

While foreign collaboration could act as a booster, self-reliance would remain the engine for the country's progress, he added.

Also present at the function were Dr A K Das, Chief General Manager, Indian Rare Earths (IRE), Alwaye, Prof M Chandrasekaran, Kerala President, Swadeshi Science Movement and Dr KKC Nair, former Deputy Director, National Institute of Oceanography.

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