PM’s visits abroad reinforced India’s N-programme, says Jitendra Singh

New Delhi: Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (MoS PMO) Jitendra Singh on Wednesday said one of the major achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign visits over the last one and a half year is that these have immensely reinforced and strengthened India’s nuclear programme.

Divulging details of important nuclear deals and agreements accomplished during Prime Minister Modi’s visits to different countries, Singh, who is also MoS for Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, said following the Prime Minister’s visit to Canada, an agreement was signed for the supply of natural Uranium up to over 5,000 tonnes, while his visit to Kazakhstan resulted in an agreement for the supply of natural Uranium up to 7,000 tons.

Similarly, during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Australia, a nuclear cooperation agreement was signed, which paved the way for procurement of natural Uranium, while his visit to the US concluded a deal for the construction of nuclear reactors at Mithi Virdi site in Gujarat, he added.

Likewise, another nuclear cooperation agreement was signed with the United Kingdom following his visit. And, a similar agreement for the expansion of the nuclear power programme at Kudankulam with the collaboration of Russia was signed during his visit there, he said.

Singh said a notable achievement, perhaps the first of its kind in the history of independent India, was the introduction of Atomic Energy Bill 2015 in the Lok Sabha on December 7, which seeks to amend the Atomic Energy Act of 1962 to facilitate joint-ventures by nuclear power units such as Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) with Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) from other fields.

This will help supplement the budgetary support for setting up of new nuclear installations, and also meet the requirement of nuclear power generation in the years to come, he said.

Allaying fears about the possible hazards resulting from radiation from nuclear power plants, Singh said not a single scientist working in these nuclear power plants have so far suffered from any health hazard due to radiation.

“This in itself should be a reassurance for the people who have apprehensions about the setting up of nuclear power plants in their area,” he said, adding that in some foreign countries, nuclear power plants have been set up in thickly populated residential colonies.

In a detailed reply, Singh informed to the Lok Sabha: “As on date, there are total 21 nuclear power reactors in the country, of which six are located in Rajasthan, but one of these has gone out of order.”

“This deficiency will be adequately overcome when the country gets six more reactors with three times more generation capacity. Two of these will be set up in Rajasthan while of the other four, two each will be set up in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu respectively,” he said. (ANI)