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dated September 3, 1958: Power needs of India

Dr. H.J. Bhabha, Chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission, presenting a technical study on the contribution of atomic energy to India’s power programme at the opening of the second United Nations “Atoms for Peace” Conference in Geneva, said on September 1 that India must turn to nuclear power production if the expected population rise to 600 million by the turn of the century is to be met by an increase in its power needs. By then the country’s power resources would still be far behind the present standards of highly industrialised countries – even with the most optimistic estimates for the growth of electrical power and coal production. Established reserves of oil in the country were very small and possible new discoveries were unlikely to be substantial enough to change the overall power picture. On the other hand, he added, India had available vast reserves of Thorium from which Uranium fuel is extracted. Dr. Bhabha said the economics of nuclear power were already such as to make it competitive with coal power in most parts of India and this possibility had been seriously considered in drawing up future power plans.

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