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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

No intention to seek FDI in nuclear sector: govt

Government today said it had no plans right now to seek foreign investment in the atomic power sector, rejecting opposition contention that it was rushing through with the nuclear liability bill with an eye on overseas funds.

"There is no policy to allow FDI in the nuclear sector," Science and Technology Minister Prithviraj Chavan said, adding that words like investments and procurements were being used very loosely in the debate on the liability bill.

Speaking at a conference organised by Assocham, Chavan said there was no question of American companies setting up nuclear reactors in India as the law does not permit the same.

He said the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) of 1962 does not allow any private operator to produce nuclear energy and the government has "no intention right now" of amending the law to seek foreign investment.

However, he said the government was considering amendments to the AEA to make regulatory bodies autonomous and also to make it compliant with certain international conventions.

Asked to react to reported demands from the opposition to call for an all-party meeting on the issue, Chavan said that the government was ready for discussion on any fora be it the Standing Committee, Parliament or even discussion with individual parties.

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