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Nuclear waste not an immediate problem for India: Ramesh

Amid concerns over waste management at the proposed nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said it was not an immediate problem for India.

Updated: Jan 04, 2011, 00:46 AM IST

New Delhi: Amid concerns over waste management at the proposed nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today said it was not an immediate problem for India and lamented a lack of balanced environmental approach towards nuclear energy.

"This discussion has come at a time when there had been a lot of concern about Jaitapur. A lot of concern has been raised about waste management...today, we don`t have a waste management problem. We will have it by the year 2020-2030," Ramesh said.

He said it would be "really wrong" to claim that India faced the problem of nuclear waste management today. "Today, we don`t have waste management. The second stage of the three stage cycle (of using nuclear fuel) enables us to deal with much of the waste as is being generated today," he said participating in a panel discussion on `Our nuclear future: perspective and prospects`.

Ramesh pointed out that the nuclear waste generated at 5000 MW capacity is not the same at 10,000 MW generated in countries like the United States.
"We must have a sense of balance, a sense of proportion, which seems to be missing in so far as the environmental approach to nuclear energy is concerned," he said.

Taking a dig at those opposing the Jaitapur power plant, he said "from an environmental point of view, it is really tragic that nuclear energy is red rag to the green bull. All the greens are anti-nuclear...it`s paradoxical actually. All the greens want clean energy to control global warming but when it comes to nuclear...the current debate on Jaitapur, it is more political than technical."

The union minister agreed that the issues being raised, particularly in relation to waste management, need to be addressed in a "much more credible fashion".

He said nuclear energy was necessary to curb the green house gases emitted by India. "38 per cent of the green house gases by India are produced due to electricity generation," he said.
NGOs and green activists are up in arms against an ambitious 10,000-mw nuclear power project being set up by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) in Jaitapur amid concerns over ecology, displacement of local populace and nuclear waste management.

PTI