Nuclear energy vital to combat energy shortage: President

Mumbai, Nov 15 : Even though India produces 2.29 lakh MW of energy, the share of nuclear energy is only two percent, and that needs to grow as the country faces energy shortfall of over eight percent, President Pranab Mukherjee said here Friday.

"To beat the shortage, we need to tap all clean energy sources. The alternative sources of clean energy have their own limitations, while we have developed the necessary technology for nuclear energy," Mukherjee said.

He was speaking at the 56th Graduation Function of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) here Friday evening.

Lauding the indigenisation efforts of India's nuclear programme, the president said home-trained scientists and technocrats have helped promote self-reliance, as nuclear energy is critical for addressing the country's energy requirements.

He called upon the scientific community to reach out to the public to allay fears and set right common misconceptions about nuclear energy.

The application of nuclear science to other fields, like nuclear medicine and nuclear agriculture, is still not known to the common people, the president said, complimenting BARC for developing 41 varieties of seeds of pulses and oil seeds.

On the occasion, the president unveiled the TAG 24 groundnut seed developed by BARC, which promises five times greater yield than conventional seeds.

The president also remotely inaugurated five new BARC facilities, including the Facility for Proving Advance Reactor Thermal Hydraulics to promote nuclear safety and Actinide Separation Demonstration Facility for reducing nuclear wastes, both at Tarapur.

The other facilities include: Waste Immobilisation Plant at Kalpakkam to handle liquid nuclear waste, Experimental Accelerator Driver Sub-critical Facility at BARC which can provide another possible route to utilise abundant thorium reserves, and a DC Electron Accelorator at Navi Mumbai for pollution control applications.

President Mukherjee also felicitated 13 meritorious students who bagged the Homi Bhabha Prize for academic excellence this year.

Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan were also present on the occasion.

--IANS (Posted on 15-11-2013)

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