Batting for nuclear energy as key to delivering on the Paris Climate Change Summit commitments, former Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar expressed optimism over India being included in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
“We have to negotiate with all countries because international cooperation in technology is always in mutual interest. So I am sure they will come around. Internationally, India is seen as a responsible country with advanced nuclear technology so that advantage has to be leveraged somewhere,” Kakodkar told the media here when asked about China’s opposition to its NSG membership.
The former Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) director said the issue of inclusion of India in the NSG is a matter of discussion and negotiation.
“All countries work together on matters of interest. I think India being member of NSG is certainly in India’s interest, but there are arguments that project this as being in the interest of larger international bodies,” he said.
Kakodkar was speaking during the inaugural of the National Seminar on Technology Thrusts on Materials & Manufacturing Sector in India’ at CSIR – Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute here.
One of the examples, said Kakodkar, is climate change and India’s new climate plan (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDC) to ramp up its share of non-fossil-based power capacity from 30 percent to about 40 percent by 2030 (with the help of international support).
He said the challenge with renewables is the huge investment in energy storage.
“India has the largest capability and expertise in thorium and nuclear energy is very important because of the climate change issue. The alternate is renewable energy. Imagine we become 100 percent renewable. Actually the grids will become unstable. Otherwise, we have to invest a lot of money in battery capacity or in some control system. All grids require minimum base load energy consumption. So there is merit in nuclear energy,” he said.
Expanding on the growth of nuclear energy in India, Kakodkar highlighted “India is one of the large countries in terms of energy demand”, so it is in “global interest” that nuclear energy grows.
“So this is one of the arguments that is valid for all countries,” he said.
Batting for thorium as “nuclear energy proliferation resistant”, Kakodkar also elaborated on the reasons why nuclear energy doesn’t grow globally.
“One of the reasons why nuclear energy doesn’t grow worldwide is this fear of proliferation, fear of safety etc. We have interest in thorium because we have plenty of it. Now thorium also allows you to make nuclear energy proliferation resistant and makes nuclear energy that much safer. So India can be a market for spreading percentage of nuclear energy that is proliferation resistant and safer so that is again in global interest,” he added.