Nuclear capacity to triple by 2031

New Delhi: India's installed nuclear power capacity is expected to rise from the current 6,780MW to 22,480MW by 2031, the department of atomic energy told Parliament on Wednesday.

This expansion is expected to come through the addition of nine nuclear power reactors with a cumulative capacity of 6,700MW by 2025, and 12 more reactors with a cumulative capacity of 9,000MW by 2031, the department of atomic energy (DAE) said.

The nine reactors expected to become operational by 2024 are under various phases of construction in different states. One of the nine is a 500MW Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor -- a next-generation reactor -- being built in Kalpakkam near Chennai.

The 12 additional nuclear reactors were "accorded administrative approval and financial sanction by the government in June 2017", the DAE said.

This planned expansion till 2031 will involve only home-grown reactors and not imported ones, through which India had once hoped to raise its nuclear power capacity to 63,000MW by 2032.

The DAE had since 2008 been indicating that it would like to expand the country's nuclear power capacity to 63,000MW by 2032. India had mentioned this target in its climate action pledges submitted to the United Nations three years ago during global negotiations to curb climate change.

But senior officials with the Nuclear Power Corporation, the public-sector company that builds and operates the country's nuclear power plants, signalled in 2015 that the 63,000MW target would be lowered.

They said no firm target had been fixed for the period beyond 2024 and that the pace of expansion would depend on both domestic and imported reactors.

France's EDF and America's GE had in June this year announced a "strategic cooperation agreement" for the planned construction of six 1,600MW reactors at Jaitapur, Maharashtra.

"EDF and GE Power will move forward with the work currently being performed to freeze the project's technical options, fine-tune industrial arrangements between both companies and finalise the design-engineering and procurement schedule," the companies had said.

The DAE wants to import, in phases, six reactors with a cumulative capacity of 9,600MW for Jaitapur that would make the site the world's biggest nuclear-power generation facility. But the DAE plan, under discussion for over a decade, has been held up by myriad factors, including technical and commercial issues.


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