India, Italy to cooperate in nuclear energy sector

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New Delhi, Dec 15 (ANI): Visiting Italian Minister for Economic Development, Claudio Scajola has said that Italy has promised to cooperate with India to double the latter's nuclear energy production.

Talking to reporters here at a joint news conference with Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Scajola said: "India is planning to double its production of nuclear energy in the next 20 years and since we (Italy) share very similar energy requirements, we are resolved to collaborate in this field also."

Scajola said both sides discussed ways to reduce dependence on fossil fuel to meet energy demands.

"India's energy problem is very similar to Italian one. Both countries are heavily dependent on foreign energy supplies as much as 70 percent or more...Both countries want to decrease their dependency on fossil fuel while increasing the weight and importance to renewable boards and nuclear energy alike...we discussed our experiences and we will certainly improve the collaboration on this," Scajola added.

Sharma said the new found warmth in relations would boost economic ties.

"We are convinced that the bilateral economic engagements will now see a new slew of growth and dynamism following this joint commission and the visit of this delegation leading to more joint ventures and collaborations," Sharma added.

India, whose nuclear market is valued at about 150 billion dollars over the next few decades, has seen a rush of global companies since a landmark U.S. deal was signed, ending 30 years of global nuclear isolation for New Delhi.

India sees nuclear energy as indispensable to fight electricity shortages that touch 16 percent during peak hours, and to power its economy. It, however, still needs to complete a safeguards agreement process with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the global atomic watchdog, to start nuclear commerce.

Last year, India and Russia signed agreements to develop new nuclear plants in India as the countries sought to deepen ties beyond their historic defense and weapon sales relationship. (ANI)

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