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Stressing safety, PM bats for nuclear energy

delhi Updated: Jun 01, 2011 00:02 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday made a strong pitch for India's ambitious nuclear energy blueprint, saying it is necessary for meeting both the growing energy demands and emission targets.

Visiting German Chancellor, Angela Merkel offered support for Singh's ‘policy’, but refrained from giving any advice reflective of Germany's position of getting rid of nuclear power reactors by 2022.

Both leaders also agreed on the Afghanistan situation and need for reforms in the United Nations Security Council. Both nations also signed four pacts.

Amplifying New Delhi's position on nuclear energy, Singh said every effort would be made to ensure that all safety norms in the generation and utilisation of nuclear energy are "world class."

Arguing for a broad based energy mix, Singh said the combination including nuclear energy is necessary for meeting the emission targets.

"Nuclear energy today accounts for only about 3% of total energy generated in our system. As of now, our capacity is less than 5,000 MW. We want to raise it to about 20,000 MW by the year 2020. Thereafter there are some projections but no firm decisions have been taken," he said. "One thing which is quite clear is that if India is to meet its emission targets, then nuclear energy along with renewable sources of energy, is a combination which we need."

Merkel agreed to help India in areas related to nuclear safety and pledged support for the development of renewable energy sector. But she said, "It is up to each and every country to decide what energy mix it wishes to use to supply energy"

She added, "Germany will champion nuclear safety standards and help India achieve a broad energy energy base. It's a policy we can support."

Later, Merkel received the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding.

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