Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

India To Build 10 Heavy Water Nuclear Reactors, Create 33000 Jobs

India To Build 10 Heavy Water Nuclear Reactors, Create 33000 Jobs

The new nuclear power plants will hold total installed capacity of around 7000MW.

At present India generates 6,780 MW from nuclear power from 22 operational plants and hopes to add 6,700 MW of nuclear power by 2022.

Work on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Russian Federation for reactor units 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) is at the stage of internal approval, a senior official said on Friday.

"A total of 7,000-MW capacity will be added".

He said it would be one of the flagship "Make in India" projects in the nuclear power sector. The industry estimates that the projects will bring in manufacturing orders of Rs 70,000 crore and create more than 30,000 jobs.

He hailed the decision as the government's commitment to prioritise the use of clean power in India's energy mix, as part of low-carbon growth strategy and to ensure long-term base load requirement for the nation's industrialization.

He linked the move to efforts to ease the impact of climate change, saying it supported India's commitment to sustainable development and energy self-sufficiency. These reactors use natural uranium as fuel and heavy water as both moderator and coolant.

Taking the plunge and entering the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Modi government has announced its plan to develop 10 heavy water nuclear reactors. The conflict of interest in having the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, a government body, overseeing the public sector nuclear power plants will have to be resolved.

A 2008 civilian nuclear deal with the USA followed by a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group saw India gaining access to the nuclear energy market and getting into initial agreements with countries, which ranged from the setting up of nuclear reactors to uranium imports. It said the ten new units would be a "fully homegrown initiative", with likely manufacturing orders to Indian industry of about INR 700 billion ($11 billion).

The prime minister's office said that the approval marks a statement of strong belief in the capability of India's scientific community to build its technological capacities.

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