Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said complex issues like nuclear energy cannot be settled by faith, emotion and fear but by structured debate.
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, a bitter opponent of nuclear energy, was seated beside him.
It was mainly due to her unwavering opposition that the Centre was forced to scrap the 6,000 MW nuclear plant at Haripur at coastal Bengal in Midnapore.
Addressing the 100th session of the Indian Science Congress in Kolkata on Thursday, the PM said, "Complex issues such as genetically-modified food or nuclear energy or exploration of outer space cannot be settled by faith, emotion and fear but by structured debate, analysis and enlightenment. A scientific approach and understanding of these issues are, therefore, as vital as our core scientific capabilities."
The PM also reminded the scientific fraternity of what Jawaharlal Nehru used to describe as scientific temper.
"Our younger generations must adopt a science-based value-system in order to benefit from what science can offer."
Singh added that "government-sponsored research must be supplemented by research in private labs".