The newly-appointed head of the National Solar Mission, Mr. Anil Kakodkar said that Solar energy and Thorium have answers for India’s energy needs. He was speaking at the ‘Indian Institute of Science Alumni Association Science Forum’ on ‘Sustainable Energy Security for India: Challenges and Options’.
“If we have to meet 5,000 kWh per capita consumption of electricity at an estimated usage of 8 trillion units per year, coal will last only 11 years, where as Uranium and its derivatives will not last beyond 40 years. Sustainability will come with the use of solar energy and Thorium, the latter will last for 170 years. They are the only forms of energy that will meet our needs,” he said.
He added that India was one of the few countries that addressed Thorium developments.
“We cannot have Thorium power plants, as it does not have fissile content. But India’s nuclear power programme has successfully recognised Thorium’s importance, being one of the few countries to have fast-breeder reactors,” he said.
Commenting on the Solar Mission, he said: “We are now looking at the scale of the mission and also at bringing the costs down. We are looking at capacity-building. Considering the technological content, we have to plan in a manner that is cost-effective,” he said.
He added that the initial challenge for the mission was understanding whether India’s large land surfaces could withstand the weathering. “I am afraid we have not fully understood this factor as yet. Making sure surfaces retain their properties is a challenge,” he said.