Eco 'meltdown' can 'slowdown' building of 'N' reactors: US official

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New Delhi, Nov 14 (UNI) As the G-20 meeting gets underway in Washington, the US feels that the current economic meltdown could probably slowdown the building of nuclear reactors (in India) as the two countries prepare to proceed further on the civilian nuclear agreement.

''Each country will have to see how to generate electricity and what part of nuclear energy to use...Economic slowdown will probably slowdown the building of nuclear reactors,'' Dr Dale E Klein, Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), a US government nuclear regulatory authority, said here today.

Addressing a press conference after a luncheon meeting, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Dr Klein said the NRC had received 17 licence applications for 26 reactors.

''Lots of that could be impacted...Credit crunch could impact the demand for global energy everywhere,'' he said in response to a question.

Earlier in his address on 'India's Civilian Nuclear Passport,' he said the NRC expected to receive ''as many as two dozen pplications'' for more than 30 units by the end of 2009.

US Ambassador to India, David Mulford, in his keynote address at the function, said even though the civilian nuclear deal was a ''great accomplishment,'' the next step would be no less difficult than what had been already achieved.

He said building a large, world class civil nuclear industry in India would require time, capital, ingenuity, competitve technology, a sound regulatory architecture, private sector input and a true political commitment to excellence.

He stressed the need for India to have public-private civilian nuclear strategy that established sound and transparent policies laying the groundwork for large scale and competitive electricity production.

Introducing a few more small reactors that produce power for an inefficient electric power system would not give the results that India was seeking, he added.

Pointing out that India would be competing with the US and other countries to access foreign capital and technology, Mr Mulford hoped that India would be the ''birthplace'' of a major international civil nuclear industry but warned that earning that place would be a major challenge.

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