I am totally opposed to the setting up of the nuclear park at Jaitapur or anywhere else in India, if it is to be based on imported nuclear reactors. If at all an appropriate nuclear power policy, when and if it is transparently formulated, indicates the need for expanding our nuclear power sector, our foremost choice should be to build indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) of 700 MWe or 1000 MWe capacity, for which India has well-established design, manufacturing, construction and operation capabilities within the country.Starting from the PHWRs, we have the choice of moving on to either the Advanced Heavy Water Reactors (AHWRs) or and the Power Fast Breeder Reactors (PFBRs), both of which will utilise our vast thorium resources. The AHWR is a thermal reactor which has excellent safety features and it can accept up to 75 per cent thorium loading. The PFBR is sodium-cooled and a potentially riskier reactor, but a much better thorium converter. The relative preference between these two reactors for India will be clear only after we gain sufficient operational experience with their initial prototypes.
A Gopalakrishnan is a former chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board of India.