Power minister Piyush Goyal has said India is not in a “tearing hurry” on the issue of nuclear energy since there are continuing questions about pricing, safety and liabilities sought by foreign companies.
“It does not come directly under my ministry, but there are still questions. We are also looking at what’s happening at Fukushima (after the 2011 disaster at the Japanese nuclear plant). Foreign companies say the plants are safe but also want protection from liabilities,” he said.
“We are not in a tearing hurry on this,” Goyal said during an interaction with journalists here on Tuesday.
On a visit to London to seek investment for India’s growing solar energy needs and bilateral talks, Goyal said the first ministerial summit on energy between India and Britain will be held in New Delhi, likely in June.
Britain, he said, is eager to participate in India’s ambition to become the largest renewable energy destination. The ambition is to be the world’s “energy capital” and demonstrate how renewable energy can be part of this, he said.
According to Goyal, the bankruptcy woes of US solar company SunEdison will not affect India’s plans.
“There are always certain cases of firms failing all over the world in every industry. There was a point of time where very large airline companies failed in different parts of the world. You have a failed steel sector in the UK. It doesn’t mean that the whole sector collapses,” he said.
“But it’s not as if only these one or two firms brought the tariffs down. We have 50 companies who brought tariffs down even below what SunEdison or Sky Power quoted. So, I don’t think it deters us or deflects the success of the solar programme at all.
“And should there be a problem with one or two companies, others will take over those projects... Investors need not be worried about it, bankers are not worried about it. There is enough interest in the market for much larger volumes than what they have taken up in India.”
Goyal said India will soon tie up with MIT to develop clean coal technologies. “Coal will remain the mainstay of our energy, but we are open to looking at cleaner coal technologies so that we don’t do what the West has done to the environment over the last 150 years.”