The Indian Government will soon amend the Atomic Energy Act of 1962 to enable private participation in the civil nuclear programme. Indicating this, a top government official has said that India may consider allowing private players to set up nuclear power plants only after they gain experience through collaborative projects with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).
“Once the private players gain experience in the nuclear field, the government may consider allowing them to establish nuclear plants of their own,” Shyam Saran, Special Envoy to Prime Minister on the Nuclear Deal told the recently concluded Indo-US Economic Summit in New Delhi. Private players can currently examine participation in certain components of the nuclear programme through the NPCIL, he added.
Saran said for the last 40 years, the Indian nuclear programme had both strategic and civilian compenents intertwined in it and this has created a bottleneck for private sector participation.
“Now India has prepared a separation plan, which will be completed by 2014. Until a complete separation takes place, bringing in the private sector may create certain difficulties,” he said. The government will soon amend the Atomic Energy Act of 1962 to enable private participation in the civil nuclear programme that the Act had originally barred, he said, but did not elaborate by when the Act will be amended.