Technology ban is denial of development: Manmohan Singh

Thursday, 28 October 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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CHENNAI: Calling for globalising nuclear power technology, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here Saturday Western powers' denial of critical technology to India was "denial of development".

Launching the commercial phase of the country's prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) programme at Kalpakkam, about 80 km from here, he said the country would have to depend more on nuclear power in future.

"Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) limitations should not cause denial of technology as denial of technology in certain fields is tantamount to denial of development to millions of people.

"Constraining those who are responsible is to reward the irresponsible." So the international community should reconsider its curbs on India, he said.

The prime minister, who also poured concrete for the country's first indigenously developed 35 billion PFBR reactor, said the country's per capita energy security (consumption and availability) did not match its development goals. The 500-MW project is scheduled for completion by 2010.

India would have 4,000 MW of nuclear power, including 2,000 MW from the two reactors being set up at Koodankulam in southern Tamil Nadu, by 2008, he said.

Noting the rising cost of petroleum products worldwide, the prime minister emphasised that nuclear power was the solution to India's energy needs.

Manmohan Singh recalled he had been a member of the Atomic Energy Commission of India decades ago and said, "Those were the most memorable days in my life."

Commending India's progress in nuclear technology, Manmohan Singh said, "This is an occasion to celebrate, also an occasion to reflect on, our past achievements and look with courage to the future."

"We are a nuclear power today, a peaceful nuclear power," the prime minister said.

"We are advancing in a manner so that we are self-reliant", but at the same time "we are advancing towards our goal of non-proliferation".

India's nuclear energy programme is in three phases and the construction of the PFBR leapfrogs the country into the second stage. The country planned nine more nuclear power plants in the next two decades in addition to the 14 it already had, he pointed out.

The PFBR will use plutonium-uranium oxide and liquid sodium coolant. The PFBR project involves a foreign exchange outflow of 5.65 billion that would be spent on procuring certain special materials.

The project has a direct employment potential for 7,000 people in the construction phase and the private sector has been involved in manufacturing its components.

Manmohan Singh was earlier welcomed on arrival at Chennai airport by Governor P.S. Ramamohan Rao and Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha.

Communications Minister Dayanidhi Maran and Chengalpattu MP A.K. Murthy accompanied the prime minister.

Source: IANS
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