President Patil argues for N-Power

Vienna: Calling nuclear power an essential element of India`s national energy basket, President Pratibha Patil said the safety of the country`s atomic plants was a matter of highest priority for the Indian government. The President, who concluded her state visit to Switzerland on Tuesday, emphasized on India`s impeccable non-proliferation record. "The President noted that nuclear energy was an essential element of India`s national energy basket," M Ganapathi, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs said, briefing reporters about Patil`s visit to Switzerland.

Patil, who arrived here last night on the final leg of her two-nation tour, "underscored that safety of India`s nuclear power plants was a matter of highest priority for the government of India. And the government would do all that it could to enhance transparency and boost public confidence," Ganapathi said. The President`s remarks on safety of the atomic power plants came against the backdrop of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, where a massive earthquake and tsunami damaged a nuclear plant in March this year, leading to leak of the radioactive material and sparking international concerns.

During the bilateral talks, the Swiss side said that they fully supported India`s associate membership of the European Organization for Nuclear Research or CERN.  Currently there are 6 associate members.