Vice President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday that nuclear electricity as a reliable and safe energy option can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that it has the potential to meet the ever-increasing energy demand in the country.
Addressing the scientists and staff of the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) here on the occasion of 70 years of exploration and research by the organisation, Naidu underlined the importance of nuclear energy in the context of climate change, which was one of the foremost environmental concerns.
Naidu stressed on the need to make modern technologies safer and reliable. Noting that India had a commendable record of operating its nuclear fleet for over 40 years without any serious incident, he exuded confidence that more safety features would be added with constant technological advancements.
The Vice President said India's abiding interest in nuclear energy grew out of a deep conviction that the power of atom could be harnessed to help the country to achieve human and societal development.
He said that India consciously made a strategic choice to pursue a low-carbon growth model in the coming decades and added that reducing pollution was a major challenge.
Appreciating the efforts of the AMD in adopting state-of-the-art exploration techniques in search of different strategic minerals, he said it was heartening to know about the availability of more than 3 lakh tonnes of uranium oxide reserves and around 1,200 million tonnes of beach sand mineral resources in our country.
"More significantly, the quantum leap in uranium resource augmentation by the AMD from around 1 lakh tonnes during the first 60 years of activities and a subsequent addition of around 2 lakh tonnes in the next 10 years is really commendable," he said.
Naidu also expressed confidence that AMD's exploration efforts in different parts of the country, including the Cuddapah basin in Andhra Pradesh, would lead to more uranium mines.
With several favourable geological domains spread across the length and breadth of the country which can host potential uranium, rare metals and Rare Earth Elements (REE) deposits, the Vice President said it would be possible to achieve self-sufficiency in atomic mineral resources for sustainable growth of the country's nuclear power programme.
Considering the steep demand for power in the country, the role of nuclear energy in future would be quite significant. "We need to develop new and more efficient technologies to utilise our resources to the maximum," he added.
Those present on the occasion included AMD Director M.B. Verma and other senior scientists and officials.