The Government of India has not given same attention to the nuclear industry as it has to other sources of renewable energy, experts feel. Prof. R Shivpuri, Distinguished professor at Modi University, in an interview to Nuclear Asia talks about the advantages of cooperation with Russia and why other foreign players have not been able to gain foothold in Indian nuclear market.
Read the full interview here –
Question: Nearly a decade has elapsed since India signed the civil nuclear agreement was inked. None of its deal with foreign countries, but for Russia, have fructified so far. What do you think of the reasons behind the slow growth of cooperation with other countries – especially the US and France?
Answer: With the United States, the nuclear liability clause came in the way. Of course, that objection has now been addressed by including the insurance clause in the agreement. Besides this, there are financial problems with Westinghouse who is the main manufacturer of Nuclear reactors in the United States. With France the situation is better. Of course, there were no such issues with Russia who has been a dependable supplier of nuclear materials as well as Reactors.
Question: How do you assess the advantages of the cooperation with Russia – in terms of its referential technologies, reliability of Russian cooperation?
Answer: Russian cooperation has been exemplary in providing Nuclear power. The latest one from Kundakulam is there for all to see. Results are a strong evidence of the technology as well as the reliability.
Question: The Nuclear Industry in India have been complaining about empty order books for long period of times. Do you think a shift in government’s policy is required to bring nuclear energy at parity with other renewable resources of energy in India?
Answer: Yes, Nuclear industry has not received the attention of the government to the same extent as other renewable sources. Certainly this industry needs to be nurtured so that we can increase the amount of energy from this important source. An important component of Nuclear Power is availability of manpower for various components of this large industry. What we see is that several Universities that have started MTech program in Nuclear Engineering have closed down this program. This is due to lack of encouragement in harnessing Nuclear power. A small country like Singapore doesn’t have any Nuclear Reactor but they are producing Nuclear Engineers just in case they need this resource in future.
Question: India has been conducting research on closed fuel cycle nuclear programme through Advanced Heavy Water Reactors (AHWRs). There have been criticisms of the research saying the progress has been slow. What is your take on it?
Answer: Since the support of the funding agencies has not been at the appropriate level, this has led to the slowdown of research.
Question: India has ratified the Paris Climate Change Agreement and is on track to meet its targets. However, the most polluting developed countries are likely to miss their targets. How do you think India can contribute more to tackle climate change?
Answer: The most important contribution could come from using nuclear sources for energy production since it does not contribute adversely to the Climate.