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Nuclear Regulatory Authority bill to be introduced in Parliament soon: Government
July 08, 2011

New Delhi: A bill towards formation of a Nuclear Regulatory Authority is going to be introduced in upcoming monsoon session of the Parliament and shall be passed in the winter session, minister of state at the prime minister’s office V. Narayanasamy said today.

As India embarks on an ambitious civil nuclear energy programme, the government has decided to make the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) more autonomous and independent in its decision making, he told delegates at a national conference organised by the ASSOCHAM Nuclear Energy Group.

The new authority will be backed with a strong legal framework and address concerns in many quarters following the March 11 Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear accident in Japan.

India is the sixth largest nuclear power in the world in terms of number of reactors. Five more reactors are under construction to generate 10,000 megawatt of power, said Mr Narayanasamy. “The country is also poised for starting work on first set of reactors along coastal sites in cooperation with the United States, Russia and France.”

He said nuclear power generation is likely to total 30,000 million units in 2011-12. To learn from international experience, India has agreed for the first time a peer review of nuclear power stations by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This is in addition to the peer review already conducted by the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO).

Meanwhile, ASSOCHAM senior vice-president R.N. Dhoot said nuclear energy is a cleaner and much cheaper option compared with power generated by hydrocarbons. By 2050, about 25 per cent of power generation in the country will be from nuclear reactors.

Mr Dhoot said ASSOCHAM firmly supported the Indo-US Nuclear Agreement right from the beginning and will continue to do so.

Chamber’s secretary general D.S. Rawat said a synergetic relationship between public and private sector will be critical for success in this area. Nuclear energy is and will be a viable source of power in coming years.

Nearly 40 per cent of households in India do not have electricity. Of the total 170 gig watts of installed capacity, 65 per cent is thermal (coal) based and only three per cent is generated by nuclear plants.

The country imports 80 per cent of its oil requirements. Coal starved power plants are also dependent on exports. Industry experts say India will become one of the largest sources of greenhouse emissions worldwide in the next 20 years and there will be tremendous international pressure to reduce carbon footprints.

Mr G.R. Srinivasan, chairman of ASSOCHAM’s Nuclear Energy Group, said the country’s power scenario should be on four pillars – thermal including gas, renewable including hydro, nuclear and demand side management such as energy conservation, improving efficiency, intensity, reduce transmission and distribution losses, smart grid, etc.

Among other present in the conference were Mr Sunand Sharma, country president of Alstom India, Mr S.S. Bajaj, chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Mr R.B. Grover, principal advisor at the Department of Atomic Energy, Mr Anil Parab, vice-president at Larsen & Toubro, Mr G. Nageswara Rao, director at the Nuclear Power Corporation Limited, Mr Bertrand Barre, scientific advisor to the chairman at Areva Group, Mr Robinder Sachdev, founder president of Imagindia Institute, Mr John Verghese, senior consultant at Capgemini and Mr Upendra Joshi, partner at Khaitan & Company.

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