India hopes to become global nuclear industry hub


United Nations : India says it looks forward to the possibility of starting international civil nuclear cooperation with the country becoming a manufacturing hub for equipment and components for the global nuclear industry.

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“We expect such cooperation to be sustainable, free from interruptions and consistent with our national policy of closed fuel cycle,” Indian delegate Aruna Kumar Vundavalli, MP, told the United Nations General Assembly Monday. The parliamentarian was reading a speech prepared by the government.

Such initiatives also open up the possibility of export of reactors and services, he said, noting that India today is the only country to have a live technology, design and infrastructure for small reactors suitable for countries wishing to enter nuclear power generation with relatively modest investments and infrastructure.

Given the large manufacturing base and relatively low manufacturing costs, there is also a potential for India becoming a manufacturing hub for equipment and components for the global nuclear industry, Vundavalli said, speaking on the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“A global nuclear energy renaissance increasingly appears not just inevitable but a necessity,” he said, suggesting robust inclusive partnerships built on the basis of trust and mutual understanding, which will function on a reliable and predictable basis.

“The adoption of closed fuel cycle options to maximise energy availability needs to be an integral part of this,” Vundavalli said, voicing justifiable concerns about the risks related to safety of the environment and proliferation rising out of irresponsible behaviour of state and non-state actors.

“However, we need to be even more concerned about the vastly enhanced security risks to which future generations would be exposed as a result of the storage of spent fuel for tens of thousands of years,” he said.

The attendant risks and challenges were within the professional competence of existing technology and institutional control, he said, noting: “Answers can easily be found if every responsible partner is seen not as a problem but as a part of the solution.”

India has been pursuing its robust three stage nuclear programme designed to maximise the energy potential from its domestic uranium and thorium resources, which will contribute around 25 percent share of electricity generation in the country by the year 2050, Vundavalli said.

The objective is to realise the huge energy potential that can be obtained from these nuclear energy resources without having to add to the global carbon dioxide burden, he added.