The onus is on the US to press the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to amend its guidelines to enable India to get nuclear reactors and fuel from the NSG sans any conditions, India's atomic energy chief Anil Kakodkar said on Tuesday.
"There shall not by any pre or post -conditions with reactor supplies," said Kakodkar, chairman, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy who has been actively involved with various stages of India's nuclear negotiations with the US.
He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the graduation function of the first batch of orientation course for engineering science graduates held by the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) here.
Asked about comments of US undersecretary for political affairs Nicholas Burns who had said India should talk to the NSG, Kakodkar pointed to the July 18, 2005 India-US joint statement which, he stressed, put the onus on the US to move the NSG to amend its rules of global nuclear commerce in favour of India.
Kakodkar stressed that the deal did not affect India's strategic nuclear programme in any way. His statement comes at a time when the India-US civil nuclear deal is embroiled in an acrimonious domestic debate with the Left parties and the chief opposition Bharatiya Janata Party attacking it.
"Our priority is to go forward towards thorium reactors," he said while stressing that the import of reactors will not affect the country's indigenous three-stage nuclear programme.
Even if the deal did not go through, it will not affect India, as the country is self-reliant in technology, Kakodkar said
He said the country would not import reactors if it were not economical to produce nuclear power.
The DAE has given a nod to build eight more nuclear reactors. Two 700 MW pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWR) will be set up in Kakrapara, Gujarat, and Rawatbhata, Rajasthan. This is the first time India will be fabricating a PHWR of this capacity.
Two 1,000 MW reactors will be located at Kalpakkam and Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu.
"The government has given in-principle approval for setting up a uranium mine and mill in Andhra Pradesh. A new mine and mill has been commissioned at Jharkhand," Kakodkar added.
Around 20-25 percent of India's power generation will be from nuclear sources by 2050, he said.
To attract talent to the burgeoning nuclear sector, the DAE is setting up a National Institute of Science Education and Research at Bhubaneswar. The one-year old Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai, puts emphasis on basic research and application. And last year the IGCAR set up its training school to conduct orientation course for engineering science graduates.
Twenty trainees belonging to the IGCAR Training School got their graduation certificates Tuesday.