HYDERABAD: Former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission Anil Kakodkar has said that only nuclear energy would help India achieve the target of 5000 kWh per capita consumption of electricity that would push the country high on the human development index.
Addressing Dr M Channa Reddy Memorial Lecture here, Kakodkar said electricity constitutes a key input for enhancing quality of life in society and thorium and solar energy are the two key sustainable energy sources in future.
"The Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR300LEU) developed by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is recognised globally for its highend technology," he said.
Kakodkar pointed out that the technology being implemented by the country to set up nuclear power plants pose little threat. "There are many misconceptions about nuclear power. The deaths caused as a result of the nuclear fallout in Fukushima was much less than that caused by the devastating earthquake and the tsunami. The dose of radiation one is exposed to travelling from Mumbai to Hyderabad is more than the dosage of exposure which is encountered on living close to a nuclear power plant," he claimed.
Citing a figure of 8000 tera watthours of energy requirement by Indians in the coming years, Kakodkar pointed out that electricity generated using thorium as the fissile material can deliver more than 170 years of uninterrupted power. The only renewable source of energy which can provide an alternative is solar which is yet to be developed on a commercially viable basis, without relying on government subsidies.
"Now that the embargo on nuclear programme in India has been lifted, a onetime import of fissile material can ensure that the process of deployment of thorium is speeded up. The challenge of waste management can be addressed by the method of recycling spent fuel that is currently in use in France and will be adopted by India as well," he said. Member of the National Disaster Management Authority B. Bhattacharjee and former director of BARC was also present at the event.