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Narayanaswamy favours FDI in nuclear sector

New Delhi: Keen to ramp up nuclear energy production, the government today favoured allowing foreign direct investment in the atomic power sector, a view that was welcomed by the industry.

"We should agree for FDI here (nuclear sector). We should open up," Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy said addressing an International Conference on Nuclear Energy organised by ASSOCHAM here. However, he said the prevailing environment was not conducive for such a step.

"We have to go step-by-step. That is what we are doing. It should not be taken that our government is slow. Atmosphere has to be created. That is what we are doing," he said. The government`s economic reforms agenda appears to have gone on the backburner in the face of political opposition, including from key alliance partners like the Trinamool Congress.

Replying to questions later, Narayanasamy said more investments were required in the nuclear sector to complement the "government-to-government steps" being taken to add atomic energy capacity. "We will have to consider FDI in nuclear sector," he said. However, he hastened to add that no final decision had been taken in this regard.

India currently operates 19 atomic reactors which produce 4,780 MW of electricity and has set an ambitious target of generating 63,000 MW nuclear power by 2032. The minister`s remarks were welcomed by the industry. "With FDI, we can make our reactors much more safe and economical," S K Ghosh, Advisor (nuclear business), Walchandagar Industries Limited said.

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