Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called for exploitation of the vast potential of nuclear energy to advance human progress while assuring at the same time global peace and security.
While inaugurating a three-day International Conference on ‘Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy-2009 held in New Delhi on 29 September, 2009, the Prime Minister said, “The task would require the collective will, wisdom and determination of the international community but it is a task that can no longer be put off”.
The conference, part of the Dr. Homi Bhabha Centenary Commemorative Celebrations, was also addressed by Dr. ElBaradei, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), Prof. P. Rama Rao, President Indian Nuclear Society (INS) and Dr. S. Banerjee, Director, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).
Prime Minister said that “It is not beyond the imagination of the human mind to devise solutions and strategies that exploit the vast potential of atomic energy to advance human progress, while assuring global peace and security.”
“If we do not use the power of the atom wisely for the universal good, the consequences would be devastating for the peace and progress that all nations seek for their people. Mentioning Dr. Homi Bhabha as one of India’s greatest nation builders and scientific pioneers, the Prime Minister said that Dr. Bhabha laid the foundation of our nuclear programme while enunciating the three- stage nuclear power programme based on closed nuclear fuel cycle.
Prime Minister Singh further said that the first stage of India’s three-stage Nuclear Power Programme, based on the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) and associated fuel cycle facilities, has now reached a level of maturity. The second stage envisages setting up of Fast Breeder Reactors (FBRs) backed by reprocessing plants and plutonium-based fuel fabrication plants. With the construction of the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalpakkam we have entered the second stage of the programme. A facility for reprocessing thorium fuel has been set up. An Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) has been designed and its construction will be launched in the near future. This will expedite the transition to thorium-based systems that will mark the third stage of the programme.
Prime Minister Singh also mentioned that the return of India to the International nuclear global mainstream is of high significance not only for India but for global energy security as well. If India could manage its three-stage strategy well it might yield a potential of 4,70,000 MW of power by the year 2050, which would sharply reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and would be a major contribution to global efforts to combat climate change.
He also addressed the vital issue of destructive uses of nuclear energy. He said that just as we seek to enhance peaceful uses of nuclear energy, we have a pressing and immediate moral obligation to draw down and eventually do away with its destructive use.
The Prime Minister regretted that global non-proliferation regime has not succeeded in preventing nuclear proliferation. He stressed the need for making global non-proliferation universal, comprehensive and non-discriminatory and linked to the goal of complete nuclear disarmament.
Prime Minister Singh said that “India is proud of its non-proliferation record and is committed to global efforts for preventing the proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction. We are committed to a voluntary, unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing”.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee released Bhabha Centenary Commemorative Coins on the occasion. Describing Dr. Bhabha as the architect of Indian Nuclear Progrramme, he said that the national and international recognition being achieved by Indian nuclear scientists was due to the conceptualization and vision of Dr. Homi Bhabha about the nuclear energy.
Dr. ElBaradei, also recalled the contribution of Dr. Homi Bhabha, as President of first International Conference on peaceful uses of atomic energy held in Geneva in 1955. He said that despite global recession, the nuclear energy has recorded a sustained growth, adding that Asia remained the focus of growth in the field of nuclear power.
Elaborating the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, Dr. ElBaradei said that the nuclear radiation is being utilized for treatment of diseases like cancer and it has tremendous potential for developing techniques for enhancing the yield of various crops in agricultural field. He appreciated India’s major role in the field of nuclear disarmament. The nuclear energy has a potential of generating power on a large scale which may be able to face the challenge of energy deficit in the world.