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Govt approved construction of 10 units of nuclear reactors

The decision has been taken to fast-track India’s domestic nuclear power programme, and give a push to the country’s nuclear industry, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said

New Delhi: In what would constitute a boost for India’s quest to fuel its rising power demand with clean nuclear energy, the Union Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh announced that the Cabinet has given its nod to the construction of 10 units of India’s indigenous Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR). The decision has been taken to fast-track India’s domestic nuclear power programme, and give a push to the country’s atomic power industry, Singh said.

While delivering the inaugural address at the 10th Nuclear Energy Conclave on October 25, he said that the government has also amended sections of the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 through the Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which would enable Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) to form joint venture companies with other Indian PSUs to meet the additional funding requirements for further expansion of our nuclear power programme.

‘Need for a paradigm shift in power policy’

Chairman AEC and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Dr KN Vyas, who delivered the keynote address, said that organising such conclaves has wide-ranging benefits in understanding the benefits and allaying any fears about nuclear energy. He called for a paradigm shift in power policy to meet the twin challenges of climate change mitigation and fulfilling the rising demand for power. The AEC Chairman said that at present, there are nine nuclear power reactors at various stages of construction in India and 12 more nuclear power reactors have been accorded administrative approval. He also added that Kaiga Atomic Power Station (KAPS) has set a new world record among PHWRs with one of its units operating uninterrupted for 895 days as of today.

‘Real challenge is to bring down the cost during the gestation period’

One of the other scholars in attendance at the event — Dr Srikumar Banerjee, chairman, Nuclear Energy Group, India Energy Forum and Chancellor Homi Bhabha National Institute and former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), said that the real challenge is to bring down the cost of nuclear energy during the gestation period. He said presently the share of atomic energy in India is just 3 percent, as compared to the global average of about 10 percent and this needs to be improved.