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India plans for eight-fold increase in nuclear power capacity to 45 GW

File photo Koodankulam Nuclear Plant

India is planning to increase its nuclear power generation capacity to 44,628 megawatt, about eight times the current capacity of 5,780 MW, the Prime Ministers’ Office said today.

At present, India has seven nuclear power plants. However, given that most of these were set up decades ago, most of these facilities contain individual units of around 220 megawatt each.

The only exception is Koodankulam, which was completed two years ago. Both units in the plant have a rated capacity of 1,000 megawatt each.

Out of the 38,848 MW of capacity additions planned for coming years, 6,700 MW is already under construction at two sites, while the remaining 32,148 MW is still on the drawing board, Jitendra Singh, junior minister at the Prime Minister’s office said today.

The minister said the 32,148 MW will be added via five plants — two of which will be set up with the co-operation of American companies, two with the help of Russian companies and one with the help of a French firm.

With a capacity of 9,900 megawatt divided in six units, the one proposed to be set up with the help of Areva of France at Jaitapur in Maharashtra would be the largest in the world by power rating.

The plants being set up with the help of Russia include an expansion at the existing location of Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu and a new plant at Haripur in West Bengal (see chart).

Meanwhile, the minister also said that negotiations with Westinghouse Power will continue despite the statement by its parent that it was exploring the sale of the unit.

POWER HUNGER

India has a total base load power generation capacity of around 250 megawatt, about one-fourth that of the USA, despite having four-times as many people.

As a result, many parts of the country — including state capitals — face acute power shortages during summers.

Most rural areas do not get power 24 hours at any time of the year.

The country has a target of ensuring ‘power for all’ by 2022 for which it plans to deploy non-fossil fuel technologies such as solar and nuclear power.

However, the country also has a strong green movement, and all nuclear plants, including operational ones like Koodankulam, face protests from people living near the location.

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