Minister says PSUs to be roped in to build N-plants; big announcement in atomic sector likely soon – Times of India


India is set to rope in public sector undertakings for building nuclear power plants as it aims to achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2070, minister for science and technology and department of atomic energy Jitendra Singh said on the sidelines of the Indian Science Congress in Nagpur on Tuesday.
The Modi government is also expected to make a big announcement in the atomic energy sector in the coming days on the lines of the “unlocking of the space sector in 2020”. However, keeping in view the criticality of nuclear fuel and its potential misuse, the government will tread a very cautious path in tune with IAEA guidelines and conventions of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a ministry source told TOI.
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), which operates almost all nuclear power plants in the country, has either formed or in the process of forming joint ventures with National Thermal Power Corporation, Indian Oil Nuclear Energy, Nalco Power Company Ltd and some other PSUs for expanding the network of nuclear power sectors.
Speaking to TOI, Jitendra Singh said the “government has drawn up a comprehensive plan, spanning next 15 to 20 years, to augment the investment in nuclear power generation. To meet the large equity requirements involved in implementation of the nuclear power expansion programme, formation of joint ventures of NPCIL with other PSUs has been decided”.
India’s current installed nuclear power capacity is 6,780 MW and it plans to add 21 more atomic power generating units with a total installed capacity of 15,700 MW by 2031.
“We are now building nuclear power plants in northern parts of the country as well,” Singh said, citing the construction of a nuclear power plant in Haryana’s Gorakhpur. Two 700 MW units are expected to be completed at Gorakhpur by 2029.
The government had amended the Atomic Energy Act in 2015 to enable joint ventures between the NPCIL and other PSUs to build nuclear power projects.
Singh has recently said that the first two reactors of the 20 nuclear power plants, a 700 MW unit each, is expected to be commissioned next year in Gujarat’s Kakrapar, which already has three atomic power generating units operational. The 500 MW Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalpakkam is likely to be operational in 2024 and the reactor is also 97.6% complete. It will be followed by two 1,000 MW units at Tamil Nadu’s Kudankulam nuclear plant in 2025. Two 700 MW units at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan are likely to be completed by 2026, while another two 1,000 MW units are likely to be completed at Kudankulam by 2027, he has said recently.

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