Beijing: Amid uncertainty over the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, a senior IAEA official has said that nuclear energy is the “way forward” for the booming economies of India and China.
The growth of nuclear power in China and India over the next two decades will outpace other countries, Deputy Director General and head of the Department of Nuclear Energy of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yury Sokolov, said.
“China has developed quite fast in the nuclear power industry in the past 20 years,” Sokolov said. “In China, in India, you have very definite plans for increasing the nuclear capacity six to 10 times for 20 years, this is really fast growth.”
“The growth of the world is not so fast,” he was quoted as saying by the official ‘China Daily.´
Interestingly, China has urged India and the US to address the concerns of the international community on their bilateral nuclear deal.
Sokolov said he remained positive about the future of nuclear power.
“Now nuclear power exists in 30 countries,” he said. “And 30 to 40 other countries have expressed their willingness to explore nuclear power.”
He made the remarks on the sidelines of an IAEA symposium on nuclear power plant management, which opened yesterday in eastern Chinese metropolis Shanghai.
China started nuclear power operations in 1991, when Qinshan-I, a 300-megawatt (MW) pressurised-water reactor unit, independently developed by it, plugged into the grid.
China has fast-tracked development of nuclear power in recent years with a target to take its nuclear power capacity from about 9,000 MW in 2007 to 40,000 MW by 2020, according to the country’s long-term development plan for the nuclear power industry.
The Indian Department of Atomic Energy also had plans to increase the country’s installed nuclear power capacity, expected to reach 20,000 MW by 2020, the report said.
Some Chinese experts said nuclear power was the best choice for China to satisfy its thirst for clean power amid pressure to sustain economic growth.
“The needs for energy consumption as well as for environmental protection are both pressed,” Vice-President of Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute, Zheng Mingguan, said.
“Nuclear power is the most suitable choice to meet both needs.”
A scholar with the Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology of Tsinghua University, Sun Libin, said: “Other forms of new energy, such as wind power and solar power, carry energy density much lower than nuclear power, and are unable to meet the tremendous power demand in China”.