NEW DELHI, India— Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi Monday dedicated the Third World’s first atomic fast breeder reactor, an experimental device that creates more weapons grade plutonium than it uses for fuel.
Gandhi, insisting India’s intentions were peaceful, renamed the Reactor Research Center after his slain mother, Indira, the Press Trust of India reported. The ceremony was held in the town of Kalpakkam, 1,090 miles southeast of New Delhi.
“This is used for the benefit of mankind and not misused for the destruction of mankind,” Gandhi said in a speech dedicating the fast breeder test reactor.
The Kalpakkam facility, with each of two $245 million units capable of producing 235 megawatts of power, is India’s third atomic power plant. But it is the first atomic plant designed and built exclusively by India.
Other countries operating breeder reactors include Britain, France, the Soviet Union, West Germany and Japan. The U.S. breeder program was put on hold under the Carter administration.
India’s new facility is also the first breeder reactor producing more high grade plutonium than it consuuclear weapons.
Gandhi reiterated his nation’s commitment to advanced technology and the achievement of 10 percent of its total energy generation through atomic power.
“Whatever we do, we must look ahead to the third millennium.” Gandhi said. “Just as the late Pandit Nehru called power stations temples of modern India, I too call this atomic power plant a temple of modern India.”
Among the officials attending the dedication of the reactor were Dr. Hans Blix, chairman of the International Atomic Agency and Dr. Munir Ahmad, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of Pakistan.
Gandhi, like his mother the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, has repeatedly accused sub continental rival Pakistan of secretly building used a successful underground nuclear test in 1974 but says it has not developed a deliverable nuclear bomb.
Pakistan also has insisted it has no intention of developing a nuclear weapons capability.
India and Pakistan both have refused to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Pakistan President Mohammad ZiaulHaq was invited to Monday’s ceremony but postponed his visit to India for one day without explanation. He is scheduled to arrive in New Delhi for a six hour stopover Tuesday afternoon.
Article extracted from this publication >> December 20, 1985