Prez 'happy' over Cabinet nod for 10 nuclear power reactors

19 May 2017

President Pranab Mukherjee today expressed happiness over the Union Cabinet nod to a proposal for setting up 10 nuclear power reactors, saying there was a need to use clean and renewable energy to meet the country's growing electricity demand.
Mukherjee made the remarks after inaugurating the country's first-of-its-kind microgrid power project at the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST) at Shibpur near here that uses solar, wind and biogas energy to produce electricity. He said he was "happy" that the Cabinet has decided to ramp up power generation by clearing a proposal to build 10 indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors, each with a capacity to produce 700 mw. Mukherjee said more than 300 million people in the country still do not have access to power. "We have to provide electricity to ordinary people," he said, adding that there is a need to emphasise on renewable energy to meet the demand.
To meet the growing demand and at the same time address concern over climate change, the country must reduce dependence on coal-based energy and emphasise on renewable forms, he said, adding nuclear is "one of the cleanest" sources of energy. The Cabinet had on Wednesday cleared the proposal to build 10 power reactors, the largest ever approval granted for such facilities in one go. The reactors will be developed by the Department of Atomic Energy. While lauding the progress in space science made by India, the President stressed that electricity and clean, arsenic-free drinking water be provided to the people, particularly those in rural areas. There cannot be too many "contradictions" for a long period of time, he said noting that India has succeeded in space missions but there is still poor availability of drinking water and electricity for a large number of people.
Mukherjee also inaugurated the Centre for Water and Environmental Research, which will focus on ways to supply safe drinking water, besides irrigation. He said the entire international community is going to "face a bigger crisis in a modern form" -- the crisis of water. One-sixth of the world's population live in India, but the country has only 1/16th of the water sources, he said, adding even 70 years after Independence, a large part of the country does not receive clean, portable water. People in drought-prone areas of central India are forced to migrate to other parts of the country, Mukherjee said.