The government should amend India's Atomic Energy Act to enable private players to enter the nuclear power generation sector, seen as a $50-billion market, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) has said.
"Almost a year has elapsed since India ended its nuclear isolation by forging a nuclear alliance with United States of America, besides other economies for cooperation in nuclear energy generation," said Assocham president Swati Piramal in a statement Wednesday.
"But initiatives for roping in private power utilities' involvement in nuclear energy have yet to commence from relevant quarters," she said in the statement, arguing that an appeal has been made to the power ministry in this regard.
The chamber said legal amendments were necessary for private sector foray into nuclear power generation, adding as many as 40 leading power utilities in the non-state sector have conclusive plans to diversify into this segment of energy security.
Private companies at present are only permitted to make equipment like turbines to generate nuclear power and supply to state-run firms such as Nuclear Power Corp.
"Any delay in making amendments in the Act would further increase power shortages and prevent India record close to 9 percent growth during the remaining period of the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12) and even subsequently," Piramal said.
The industry lobby said companies and business houses waiting for a move forward in the area included the Tata group, North East Power Co, the Jindal group, Jaiprakash Associates, Reliance Industries, GMR, Lanco Torrent and RPG.