India Seeking to Add Emissons-Free Nuclear Power

India is negotiating with U.S. government officials to cement a deal for Westinghouse to build a new nuclear power plant in the subcontinent. India and Westinghouse have agreed on terms for six new state-of-the-art reactors that would help India meet its carbon dioxide reduction goals.

India launched its latest civil nuclear power program under agreements with the George W. Bush administration. The Obama administration has continued working with the Indian government, hoping to see progress on global carbon dioxide emissions.

At the 2015 United Nations climate accords in Paris, India’s Additional Secretary Susheel Kumar pledged India will strive to generate 40 percent of its electricity by 2032 from sources that do not emit carbon dioxide. Although Kumar praised wind and solar power, he acknowledged wind and solar are more expensive than nuclear power. Also, he observed wind and solar alone can only produce a small amount of India’s electricity needs. Nuclear power is the path to emissions-free electricity in India and the developing world, Kumar said.

India recently passed China as the nation with the highest increase in annual carbon dioxide emissions. Despite ongoing reductions in U.S. and European Union emissions, global carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise as a result of rapid industrialization in nations like India and China. Stemming the increase in global carbon dioxide emissions will require more nuclear and natural gas power in nations like China and India, regardless of ongoing reductions in the United States and western democracies.

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