Sri Lanka to produce Nuclear power ?

Sri Lanka is to have its first nuclear power plant within the next 20 years to generate cheap electricity to draw large investments and boost its post-war economy.

“In meeting these development priorities and plans, Sri Lanka has therefore taken a decision to look into incorporating Nuclear Power into its energy mix. The Government of Sri Lanka recently approved the Atomic Energy Authority of Sri Lanka to conduct a pre-feasibility study of using nuclear energy as a viable option beyond 2020 for power generation with the technical cooperation of the Agency,” Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said.

“Further, a program to enhance human resource development in the field of nuclear energy has already been initiated in collaboration with Engineering Universities of Sri Lanka,” he added.

“We have received government clearance to set up a nuclear power plant of 1,000 MW,” M.M.C. Ferdinando, the secretary of the Ministry of Power and Energy told an investor forum in Colombo.

Ferdinando said the government would begin feasibility studies soon for nuclear power in addition to coal, and hoped to get safety approval from the World Atomic Energy Authority.

“You have to have the plant and safety measures for disposal before starting the plant by 2030.”

Ferdinando did not elaborate on the cost or whether Sri Lanka would get help from Iran, which has been a staunch anti-western ally of the island nation and its main crude oil supplier.

Investors have long complained of expensive electricity and poor infrastructure, neglected during a 25-year war that ended in May last year, had deterred potential investors.

The $42-billion economy, which currently depends 60 percent on diesel power and 40 percent on hydro power, is in the process of building a 900-MW coal power plant with a loan of more than $1.3 billion from China and a 500 MW coal power plant with an Indian loan.

Sri Lanka plans to cut its diesel power dependence to 20 percent of total electricity generation by 2017 once both coal power plants have started full operation.

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