COLOMBO, Sept 20 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, a top government official said on Monday.
"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
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
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.
(Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal; Editing by