Govt cautious on West-discarded nuclear technology: Goyal

As government charts out a multi-pronged growth agenda for power sector, it is cautious about not being saddled with technology discarded by West in the name of nuclear energy, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday.

New Delhi: Striking a cautious note, Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said the government is looking at all options on nuclear energy but does not want to get saddled with "something" that has been discarded by the West.

He also said the Centre is trying to address issues with regard to civil nuclear liability issues.

"Nuclear has potential and has opportunities for India. This government is considering all options... In nuclear, we are seized of the problem and we are already trying to see how we can address the nuclear liability restrictions," Goyal said.

Goyal, who is the Minister of State for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy, was speaking at the India Economic Summit here.

In August, the government had said that it was addressing the concerns raised by domestic suppliers over certain provisions of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act, 2010 and was working out a scheme to obtain appropriate insurance cover from domestic insurers.

Sounding cautious, Goyal said that the United States and many European nations have discontinued setting up of nuclear plants.

"This government would like to be cautious that we are not being saddled with something only under the garb of clean energy or alternate energy; something which the West has discarded and is sought to be brought to India," he said.

According to him, there is no estimate yet on the life-cycle costs of nuclear power right till the de-commissioning stage.

"I hear that US and Europe are also not developing new nuclear power plants. We are cautious about it as we don?t want to be saddled with an old asset in the garb of alternate energy," he added.

Underlying the importance of nuclear energy in India's energy basket, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked scientists from Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in July this year to ensure India's nuclear power capacity is tripled from present 5,780 MW by fiscal 2024 and within the allocated budget.

Modi had made these comments while interacting with scientists from DAE at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).

The Prime Minister had reiterated his belief that energy security, which was increasingly based on clean and reliable sources of energy, was the critical driver of rapid and sustained long-term development.

"He (Modi) saw an essential role for nuclear energy in India's energy strategy, given the scale of demand in India," a government statement had said at that time.