At COP-21: Indian Lead Climate Negotiator Backs Nuclear Power to Reduce Emissions

Published December 5, 2015

PARIS — Nuclear power should play a greater role in producing energy from low-carbon sources, India’s lead negotiator said Friday at the United Nations COP21 climate conference in Paris.

India’s Additional Secretary Susheel Kumar spoke about India’s energy future on a panel sponsored by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) environmental activist group. During the panel conversation, Kumar said India will aim to produce 40 percent of its electricity from sources that do not produce carbon dioxide emissions. During the subsequent question and answer session, I asked Kumar how much nuclear and hydro power should be a part of the 40-percent zero-carbon mix.

Nuclear power will be an important component of India’s 40-percent zero-carbon mix, said Kumar. Kumar said India will look to generate 63 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2032. India will also invest a significant amount of funding into nuclear power research, said Kumar, with the goal of making nuclear power more affordable and more available to developing nations. Kumar explained more nuclear power availability is especially important for developing nations in the tropics.

In a follow-up question, I asked Kumar what percentage increase in energy prices is acceptable for the Indian people to bear to generate 40 percent of the nation’s electricity from zero-carbon sources. Kumar acknowledged that wind and solar power are more expensive than conventional power and it will raise electricity prices to utilize wind and solar power. He said he was not prepared to give a specific number regarding how much price increase he believes to be appropriate.

A member of an environmental activist group asked Kumar whether the United States was doing its fair share to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Kumar said he the burden falls on many nations and he did not wish to point a finger solely at the United States or the West, but at people all over the world “who are indulging in a profligate lifestyle.”

[NOTE: Read Heartland’s extensive research into the radical National Resources Defense Council at]