Privatisation of Indian nuclear power plants soon: Ansari


Mumbai : Vice President Hamid Ansari Wednesday expressed hope that private utility providers will run nuclear power plants in India in the “not so distant future”, and stressed the need to have trained human resource in the atomic sector.

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“While we can import nuclear fuel and technology, human resource would have to be developed and equipped within the country,” said Ansari, addressing the graduation ceremony of the 52nd batch of students of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) Training School.

“There are not many academic or professional institutions to train scientists and technologists for the nuclear industry in India. It is here that I foresee one of the most significant challenges for the BARC Training School,” he said.

Ansari pointed out that international regulatory environment concerning nuclear commerce has changed since last year, opening up new avenues for accelerated deployment of nuclear power in the years to come.

“This would also bring about a re-adjustment in the internal regulatory environment,” he said, referring to the Economic Survey for 2008-09 which has pointed out that the Atomic Energy Act needs to be amended to permit private corporate investment in nuclear power, subject to regulation by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).

“It also calls for framing the rules for private and foreign entry and for allowing up to 49 percent FDI in this sector. In the not so distant future, therefore, private utility providers would run nuclear power plants. Such plants would need human resource,” he said in the presence of AEC Chairman Anil Kakodkar and BARC Director S. Banerjee.

Ansari added that human resource occupies a critical role in the nuclear industry. The life cycle of the nuclear energy sector requires extended time horizon, technological complexity and need for excellence.

“It is said that on a ‘cradle to grave’ basis, nuclear activity would exceed 100 years if one were to include monitoring radioactive waste. Human resource development, therefore, must long precede the nuclear power programme and must continue after ‘sunset’ even if such a programme were to shutdown,” he said.

In this context, he called for proper “knowledge management in the nuclear sector to ensure smooth and orderly transfer of technology from research institutions to industry and from public sector to private sector.”

Maharashtra Governor S.C. Jamir presided over the graduation ceremony and Kakodkar also addressed the gathering.