NSG: Kakodkar calls for solution addressing both non-proliferation, energy requirement conditions

Mumbai : With China blocking India’s membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and New Delhi firmly expressing displeasure at the tactics used by Beijing, ace nuclear scientist and former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission Dr. Anil Kakodkar on Wednesday called for a midway solution that meets both the non-proliferation conditions as well as energy requirements of the country.

The former Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) director said a Thorium and an unenriched Uranium fuelled pressurised heavy-water reactor (PHWR) meets both these objectives to a large extent.

A PHWR is a nuclear reactor, commonly using unenriched natural uranium as its fuel, which uses heavy water as its coolant and neutron moderator.

“Different countries have approached nuclear energy differently. Most of the countries have gone for large reactors because of economy of scales. Nuclear energy is actually growing, but it is growing in countries where nuclear energy already existed. There are emerging economies where there is requirement. Now, NSG is the body to control nuclear supplies from non-proliferation, which is fine. We need to find a solution which meets the non-proliferation perspective as well as which meets energy requirements of these countries,” Dr. Kakodkar told ANI here

“One can think of a PHWR, a 220 Megawatt PHWR fueled with Thorium and low enriched Uranium. If we do that then we, to a large extent, meet the non-proliferation objective; you meet the safety objective; Thorium contributes to safety and meet the economic objective of these countries,” he added.

Asserting that the membership of the NSG was ‘important’ for India, Dr. Kakodkar said it must be considered that the rules are consistent with the Indian interests.

Taking a strong exception to the draconian mindset of the leading nuclear powers which seeks to control the spread of nuclear technology, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission said climate change can emerge as a bigger threat than nuclear energy in coming years.

“You cannot approach it with a mindset that come what may we will not allow nuclear power to grow. Tomorrow, the climate change would be a bigger killer compared to.., certainly nuclear accidents (take place), in Fukushima nobody died. There are nuclear weapons, so there is risk that we must control and that is the NSG objective. We also have to address security threats and India has been doing it all along with great responsibility,” he said.

He also said nuclear energy is key to India delivering on the commitments made at last year’s Paris Climate Summit.

The major roadblock for India to access nuclear fuel comes from China, which is blocking India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

New Delhi has firmly signaled its displeasure at the tactics used by Beijing, which firmly maintains that being a nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory was a must for joining the NSG.

Meanwhile, the NSG will meet yet again this year to discuss the process of inclusion of countries like India, who have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty ( NPT).

A special plenary session of the NSG can be called by the year end. (ANI)