Cabinet clears proposal to build 10 nuclear power plants

The Cabinet approved construction of ten more nuclear power plants of 700 megawatt each - using the indigenous pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWR) - to cross 20,000-megawatt in the total nuclear power generation in the country by 2022.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the scheme that will promote energy self sufficiency, clean, carbon free sources of power and place India high among nuclear power countries, he said. "Another 6,700 MW of nuclear power is expected to come on stream by 2021-22 through projects presently under construction".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the decision would "transform" the domestic nuclear industry.

Others noted, however, that even with the 10 new reactors, the government's target of 63,000MW by 2032 will not be reached.

Nuclear power generation issues have led to quite a few controversies, given misgivings among many who live near power plants, besides compensation in the unlikely but fearful event of a nuclear accident.

Refuting a media report that suggested that India was holding back the MoU to make Russian Federation use its influence over China to enable India's membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said: "The report is completely baseless, incorrect and mischievous".

"A total of 7000 MW capacity will be added".

India now operates seven nuclear plants, mostly of Russian and USA origin.

Talking to the media here on the development, minister Piyush Goyal said this project will bring about substantial economies of scale and maximise cost and time efficiencies by adopting fleet mode for execution. The move may ease stress on account of non-availability of linkages to power sector projects.

The release said the approval marks a statement of strong belief in the capability of "India's scientific community to build our technological capacities".

For years, India had been pushing to develop indigenous technology in nuclear power.

The ten reactors are said to be part of India's latest design of 700MW PHWR fleet with an advanced technology.

  • Zachary Reyes