Nuclear power is key to development


A recent study by the academics at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, funded by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, shows that it is important for India to prioritize investments in nuclear energy infrastructure to achieve its development goals and transition towards net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2070.


GS-01, GS-03 (Mineral & Energy Resources, Nuclear Technology)

Key Highlights:

  • The study emphasizes the need for significant investments in nuclear energy infrastructure for India to achieve its development goals and target net zero carbon emissions by 2070.
  • Currently, nuclear energy accounts for only 1.6% of India’s energy mix, highlighting the necessity for expansion and development in this sector.
  • The study explores various scenarios, including high, medium, and low economic growth, with differing emphases on nuclear, fossil fuels, and renewables, to gauge their impact on achieving net zero emissions by 2070.
  • In the most optimistic scenario, nuclear power is projected to increase five-fold by 2030 and contribute 30% of India’s total energy by 2050, requiring substantial investments and uranium availability.
  • Achieving these targets necessitates substantial investment (estimated at ₹150-200 lakh crore between 2020-2070), adequate infrastructure for alternative sources, and flexible grid systems to integrate renewable energy sources while phasing down coal dependence.


  • Limited Nuclear Energy Contribution: Currently, nuclear energy accounts for only 1.6% of India’s energy mix. This limited contribution highlights the need for more investments and infrastructure expansion to scale up nuclear power generation in the country.
  • Uranium Availability: Uranium being a critical fuel for nuclear power generation and its restricted availability by international embargo, requires strategic planning and diplomatic efforts to secure access to uranium resources. This will ensure a reliable fuel supply for India’s nuclear energy program.
  • Transition from Coal: Coal remains a dominant energy source in India’s energy landscape, accounting for a significant portion of installed generation capacity. Transitioning away from coal towards cleaner energy sources such as nuclear power necessitates substantial investments in alternative infrastructure, grid flexibility, and energy storage to support the integration of renewable energy sources.

Suggested Measures:

  • Prioritize Nuclear Energy Investments: Prioritizing doubling investments in nuclear power generation capacity and ensuring adequate availability of uranium fuel to meet future demand in nuclear energy infrastructure accelerates the transition towards net zero carbon emissions. This includes
  • Diversify Energy Mix: While nuclear power is projected to play a significant role in India’s energy transition, it is also important to maintain a diverse energy mix, including renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. Balancing the deployment of various energy technologies is essential to enhance energy security, resilience, and sustainability.
  • Strengthen Policy Support: Government policies should provide a conducive regulatory environment and financial incentives to promote investments in nuclear energy infrastructure. This includes streamlining approval processes, providing subsidies or tax incentives for nuclear power projects, and fostering public-private partnerships to drive innovation and technology development in the nuclear sector.
  • Enhance International Cooperation: India should engage in diplomatic efforts to secure access to uranium resources and strengthen international partnerships for nuclear technology collaboration, research, and development. International cooperation can help address challenges related to fuel supply, technology transfer, and regulatory harmonization, facilitating the growth of India’s nuclear energy program.