One of India’s most respected nuclear scientists has said that the country could afford to disband its nuclear programme if it wished.

MP Parameswaran, a former scientist to the Atomic Energy Commission, said that the country does not need nuclear power to fulfil its energy needs.

“Of the 750,000 MW power projected for 2030, fossil fuels will account for 400,000 MW,” he said. “A 10 per cent increase in this can offset the shortage produced by the suspension of the nuclear energy programme. We have all the expertise and production capacity to do this.”

He said existing reactors should be redesigned to operate on coal or natural gas. Yes, there are costs involved in it. But the real cost of continuing with the nuclear programme is much higher.”

This week it was revealed that India is working on a 300 MW nuclear reactor that would use thorium instead of uranium for most of its fuel.

Plans are for the plant to be built and operational by 2020 and officials are said to be currently looking for a suitable site.

Ratan Kumar Singh, director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai, said that “the basic physics and engineering” of the plant are “in place and the design is ready”.

For more Asia news click here