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About 86 percent of India’s rural households still use dung cakes and firewood as fuel, a senior government official has said here. “More than 85 million households in India spend 30 billion hours gathering firewood. The country also consumes 131 tonnes of crude oil products in 2007-08,” Planning Commission member Kirit S. Parikh said at an interactive session here Friday evening, explaining the necessity of nuclear power in today’s world.

“The country has a coal reserve for next 50 years and after that we’ll run out of coal. In India, most of the power generating stations are coal-based and the only way out is to generate nuclear energy through developing our existing resources,” he said during a presentation on ‘integrated policy on energy security’.

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