Indian units to boost domestic nuclear industry

18 May 2017

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described his Cabinet's approval of the construction of ten indigenously designed pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWR) as a "big boost" for his Make in India program of localised manufacturing. The Cabinet, chaired by Modi, yesterday approved the construction of ten 700 MWe units in a "significant decision to fast-track India's domestic nuclear power program".

The Cabinet's announcement did not give any timeline or locations for the new plants, but said the project would result in a "significant augmentation" of the country's nuclear generation capacity.

India has 6780 MWe of installed nuclear capacity from 22 operational reactors with another 6700 MWe expected to come on stream over the next five years, the cabinet noted. 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 project will adopt a "fleet mode", bringing "substantial economies of scale" and maximising efficiency, the Cabinet said. It is expected to generate more than 33,400 jobs and strengthen the country's credentials as a "major nuclear manufacturing powerhouse".

"The approval also marks a statement of strong belief in the capability of India's scientific community to build our technological capacities. The design and development of this project is a testament to the rapid advances achieved by India's nuclear scientific community and industry," the Cabinet said.

The decision "reflects 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 industrialisation," the statement noted.

Modi tweeted: "A vital decision of the Cabinet that pertains to transformation of the domestic nuclear industry."

India's most recent nuclear power plan, issued in 2012, includes 700 MWe PHWRs with two units each to be built at Gorakhpur, Chutka, Bhimpur, Mahi Banswara and Kaiga, with potential construction starts this year. In addition, further Russian-designed VVER reactors are to be built in the second phase of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant at Tamil Nadu.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Filed under: New build, Energy policy, India