India Advocates for Nuclear Power at UN With Climate Change Case
Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. 
Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. (File Photo: IANS)

India Advocates for Nuclear Power at UN With Climate Change Case

India plans to more than treble its nuclear electricity generation from the current 6,780 megawatts to 22,480 megawatts by 2031, according to the Department of Atomic Energy.

To support this, India’s UN Mission told the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, 9 November, that it believed nuclear energy is vital for meeting the challenge of climate change and that they are intent on doing it as sustainably as possible.

“Nuclear power remains an important option to meet the challenges of increased energy demand, address concerns about climate change, redress volatile fossil fuel prices and ensure security of the energy supply.”
Sandeep Kumar Bayyapu, a first secretary in India’s UN Mission

Nuclear reactors do not produce greenhouse gases like power plants using coal. Therefore, they can be used to meet electricity demands without adding to climate change. But the risks of nuclear reactors and misuse of nuclear power stand equally tall.

In a report by Reuters on the session, it is noted that Bayappu asked for support effort by countries to increase public acceptance of nuclear energy and continue to help start or expand nuclear energy programs.

This, at a time when many countries in Europe are moving away from nuclear energy citing its potential risks. Responding to arguments against nuclear power plants during the debate, Bayyapu suggested two solutions: firstly, advanced fission reactors, including fast reactors, that use nuclear fuel more efficiently and reduce radioactive waste and secondly, using thorium-based fuel cycles and technologies which are inherently less susceptible to be used for weapons production.

Of the nine reactors under construction in India, one is an advanced fast breeder reactor being built at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu. It uses thorium to create uranium 233 for power generation. Thorium is more easily found in India while it has to rely on imports for uranium.

However, India has seen opposition to nuclear power plants even from within, especially the one at Kudankulam in southern Tamil Nadu.

Also Read : Plan for 21 nuclear reactors on track: DAE Secretary

(With inputs from Reuters)

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