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India should seek nuclear self-reliance through Thorium: Kalam

world Updated: Oct 24, 2007 10:47 IST

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Former president APJ Abdul Kalam has said that India should seek to achieve self-sufficiency in nuclear power through Thorium fuel-based reactors.

"Whatever treaty or agreement we do, if it helps.. Well and good, but the thrust should be to be self-reliant in Thorium fuel-based reactors," Kalam told PTI in an interview in London.

Sidetracking a question on the Indo-US Nuclear deal, Kalam, who was in London on a three-day visit that concluded on Tuesday, said, "All our nuclear reactors are Uranium fuel-based. In the country, we have a shortage of Uranium. But we have one of the largest reserves of Thorium."

"It is also a fuel but it is not fissile material. You have to convert it as a fissile material through the fast breeder reactor which we are building.

"So option for India is, while we need some Uranium flow, we should go for Thorium fuel based reactor," he said.

While admitting that there was a lot of research still needed in the field, Kalam said "Our scientists are busy developing it and in the next five to seven years, Thorium fuel-based nuclear reactor will be a reality. That should be our final goal."

The former president, widely regarded as the father of India's nuclear weapons programme, said: "My feeling is that whatever we want to do in that direction, India should become self-reliant in Nuclear energy. Fortunately Thorium is there. Some more fast breeder reactor we have to build."