What is India’s ‘nuclear’ plan?

New Delhi: In order to make itself future-ready and switch to clean energy, India would be looking to rely more and more on nuclear power generation going forward. While responding to a question in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, Union Minister of State for Atomic Energy Dr Jitendra Singh said that the government plans to increase the installed capacity base of nuclear power in the country from the current 6,780 MW to 13,480 MW by the year 2024-25.

22,480 MW by 2031

The Centre is hoping to achieve the target with the completion of projects under construction, which includes 500 MW Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR), being implemented by Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI).

The government has also accorded administrative approval and financial sanction for 12 nuclear power reactors aggregating a total capacity of 9,000 MW, which are scheduled to be completed progressively by the year 2031. On their completion, the total nuclear power capacity would reach 22480 MW. More reactors based on both indigenous technologies and with foreign cooperation may be planned in the future, the minister told the Lok Sabha.

NPCIL’s performance in FY19

During financial year 2018-19, state-owned power generator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) outdid the targets it had set for itself for the said fiscal year. According to the MoU signed by NPCIL with the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), the generation target for the PSU for FY2018-19 was 36904 Million Units (MUs) but the actual generation stood at 37813 MUs.

Thorium-based nuclear reactors

The DAE is planning on using large deposits of Thorium available in the country as a long-term option. A three-stage nuclear power programme has been chalked out to use Thorium as a viable and sustainable option, right at the inception of India’s nuclear power programme. The three-stage nuclear power programme aims to multiply the domestically available fissile resource through the use of natural Uranium in Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors, followed by the use of Plutonium obtained from the spent fuel of Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors in Fast Breeder Reactors.
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