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Now, BJP seeks debate on nuclear energy

At a time when the nuclear crisis in Japan has sparked off a debate on nuclear safety, the BJP has pointed out to the need for a new debate on nuclear energy in India.

delhi Updated: Apr 20, 2011 00:36 IST
Vikas Pathak

At a time when the nuclear crisis in Japan has sparked off a debate on nuclear safety, the BJP has pointed out to the need for a new debate on nuclear energy in India.

Incidentally, this is the first time the party has suggested there was a need to discuss the efficacy of generating nuclear power. “A new debate on nuclear energy is in the offing in India, after the nuclear crisis in Japan,” said BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy. “There is going to be an influx of N-power plants with US technology in India. The US technology is not tested, and a debate is natural.”

He was commenting on a question related to protests in Jaitapur in Maharashtra, where ally Shiv Sena is with the locals in opposing a nuclear power plant. “The main issue is certainly debatable, when the technology to be imported is not even tested. It is a matter of concern,” Rudy said.

He added this would entail pondering over all related aspects, including the desirability of nuclear power, a debate on the 123 agreement, nuclear technology and fuel imports.

The BJP had taken the initiative for a civil N-deal with the US when in power, but began to oppose it when UPA-I took the initiative forward, arguing that the deal would mean India relinquishing its right to test nuclear weapons.

Later, the party with the Left played hardball with the government over the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill, taking up the issue of supplier liability in case the supply of defective equipment led to a nuclear disaster.

Once the government relented on the BJP’s demands, the party cooperated with it in allowing the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill to go through.