India needs to give a major thrust to nuclear energy to overcome power shortage and fuel economic growth, given the limitations of the conventional sources of energy, said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
"Our all requirement (of energy) will only be met by considering nuclear and non-conventional resources," he said while releasing commemorative coins to mark the birth centenary of nuclear scientist Homi Bhabha.
Making a strong case for a major nuclear power programme with a long-term vision, Mukherjee said, "quality power is essential requirement (for growth)...Our conventional sources are not at all adequate to achieve the desired energy (output) in terms of electricity generation".
Noting that coal resources are depleting and hydel power potential is limited, the Finance Minister said overexploitation of conventional resources are also raising environmental concerns.
Unlike the conventional sources of energy, he said, "nuclear energy is clean and self-alternating compared to fossil fuel".
Recalling the contribution of Bhabha, Mukherjee said, he started his work at a time when nuclear science was in the stage of infancy and people were not sure what role it could play in economic development.