UN's top environment official, Ramesh differ on benefits of nuclear energy | delhi | Hindustan Times
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UN's top environment official, Ramesh differ on benefits of nuclear energy

There was a minor chit chat between UN environment chief Achim Steiner and Environment minister Jairam Ramesh over the issue as India debate pros and cons of nuclear energy following people’s protest against world’s largest nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra.

delhi Updated: Jun 03, 2011 21:39 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Is nuclear energy good or bad?

There was a minor chit chat between UN environment chief Achim Steiner and Environment minister Jairam Ramesh over the issue as India debate pros and cons of nuclear energy following people’s protest against world’s largest nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra.

Steiner, who is executive director of United Nations Executive Programme, did not list nuclear as a green energy and said the cost of its production increases with time unlike other renewable such as solar or wind, which comes down.

Ramesh was quick to hit back by saying India cannot meet its energy needs by generating energy from cow-dung or by ox energy. “We need all. Coal, Nuclear and Hydro plus renewables,” the minister, who on earlier occasions has described nuclear as green energy source, said.

At a function to launch of World Environment Day to be celebrated on June 5, he refrained from defining nuclear as another green option for India.

Steiner said that Germany took 12 years to change its energy matrix from nuclear to renewable. Portugal and Spain had taken a decade to source 40 % and 20 % of its electricity from green sources.

Ramesh reminded him that Germany’s neighbour France still gets 70 % of the energy from nuclear and said it should be left to individual countries to choose their energy sources. A point with the UN official agreed.

The minister, who spent the day advocating a balance between environment and economic growth, slammed his own government for allocating Rs 2,500 every year to each of one lakh schools in India.

“The amount is laughable for a country whose economic growth is nine percent. I don’t think doubling the amount will make government of India bankrupt,” he said, while taking a dig at growth advocates.